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J Neurosci. 1996 Jun 15;16(12):3887-94.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-4/5 stimulate growth of axonal branches from regenerating retinal ganglion cells.

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Centre for Research in Neuroscience, Montréal General Hospital Research Institute, Québec, Canada.


To investigate the influences of growth factors on axonal regeneration in the mammalian CNS, we used intracellular tracers to quantitate the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin (NT)-4/5, or NT-3 on individual retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons in the retinas of adult rats after optic nerve transection. A single injection of BDNF or the prolonged administration of NT-4/5 by mini-pump increased axon branch median lengths by eightfold but had no effect on the number of branches formed by the RGC axons. NT-3 did not significantly influence axonal regrowth. These specific in vivo effects of BDNF and NT-4/5 on axonal regeneration from injured RGCs may be used to promote growth and expand the abnormally small terminal arbors observed when RGCs regrow into their CNS targets.

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