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J Comp Neurol. 1993 Apr 1;330(1):105-12.

Axonal regeneration is associated with glial migration: comparison between the injured optic nerves of fish and rats.

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Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


The central nervous systems of mammals and fish differ significantly in their ability to regenerate. Central nervous system axons in the fish readily regenerate after injury, while in mammals they begin to elongate but their growth is aborted at the site of injury, an area previously shown to contain no glial cells. In the present study we compared the ability of glial cells to migrate and thus to repopulate the injured area in fish and rats, and used light and electron microscopy in an attempt to correlate such migration with the ability of axons to traverse this area. One week after the optic nerve was crushed, both axonal and glial responses to injury were similar in fish and rat. In both species glial cells were absent in the injured area (indicated by the disappearance of glial fibrillary acidic protein and vimentin immunoreactive cells from the site of injury in rat and fish, respectively), while at the same time axonal growth, indicated by expression of the growth-associated protein GAP-43, was restricted to the proximal part of the nerve. In fish, 2 weeks after the crush, GAP-43 staining (i.e., growing axons) was seen at the site of injury, in association with migrating vimentin-positive glial cells. One week later the site of injury in the fish optic nerve was repopulated by vimentin-positive glial cells, and GAP-43-positive axons had already traversed the site of injury and reached the distal part of the nerve.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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