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Neuron. 1996 Dec;17(6):1117-31.

PDGF mediates a neuron-astrocyte interaction in the developing retina.

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MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, United Kingdom.


Astrocytes invade the developing retina from the optic nerve head, over the axons of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). RGCs express the platelet-derived growth factor A-chain (PDGF-A) and retinal astrocytes the PDGF alpha-receptor (PDGFR alpha), suggesting that PDGF mediates a paracrine interaction between these cells. To test this, we inhibited PDGF signaling in the eye with a neutralizing anti-PDGFR alpha antibody or a soluble extracellular fragment of PDGFR alpha. These treatments inhibited development of the astrocyte network. We also generated transgenic mice that overexpress PDGF-A in RGCs. This resulted in hyperproliferation of astrocytes, which in turn induced excessive vasculogenesis. Thus, PDGF appears to be a link in the chain of cell-cell interactions responsible for matching numbers of neurons, astrocytes, and blood vessels during retinal development.

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