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Int J Dev Neurosci. 1998 Aug;16(5):317-22.

Retinoic acid as a chemotactic molecule in neuronal development.

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Randall Institute, Division of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, U.K.


We describe the results of experiments on dissociated cultures of embryonic chick neural tissue which were designed to investigate further the role of all-trans-retinoic acid (tRA) on neurite outgrowth and, by inference, on the developing nervous system in vivo. We show that tRA increases both the number of neurites and the length of neurites extending from these chick neural tube cells at nM concentrations. Secondly, using the newly designed Dunn chamber in which stable gradients of compounds can be generated, we show that neurites respond to a gradient of tRA by growing up the gradient. These observations indicate a role for RA in vivo, not only in the initial outgrowth of neurites, but also in their guidance to the appropriate targets.

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