Morphological response of injured adult rabbit optic nerve to implants containing media conditioned by growing optic nerves

V. Lavie, A. Harel, A. Doron, A. Solomon, D. Lobel, M. Belkin, S. Ben-Basat, S. Sharma, M. Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult rabbit retina can express regeneration-associated characteristics after optic nerve injury, provided it is supplied with appropriate diffusible substances originating from media conditioned by regenerating fish optic nerves or by optic nerves of a newborn rabbit [Hadani et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 81 (1984) 7965; Schwartz et al., Science, 228 (1985) 600]. This was shown by applying the active substances to the injured axons in the form of 'wrap-around' implants, consisting of collagen-coated silicone tubes which had been soaked in the conditioned media (CM). The regeneration-associated response was manifested biochemically and by sprouting of nerve fibers in culture. The present work provides morphological evidence that the implantation prolongs survival of ganglion cells and optic nerve fibers and induces new growth. Light microscopic analysis (using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) for labeling the fibers) revealed, 1 week following optic nerve injury, labeled fibers and ganglion cells in both the implanted and control (injured only or injured and implanted with collagen-coated silicone tubes free of CM) nerves. However, from the second week after the injury, distinct differences in the appearance of viable ganglion cells and labeled fibers, were seen between experimental and control preparations. In sections taken through the optic nerve, at the region distal to the site of injury, HRP-labeled fibers were seen in the experimental nerves 1 week, 2 weeks and to a significantly lesser extent 1 month after injury. In the control nerves, HRP-labeled fibers were scarcely seen from 2 weeks on after the injury. The fibers seemed to have a structure of growing tips at their terminals. Electron microscopic analysis revealed the presence of fibers with growth cones in the experimental nerves. These growth cones were found to be embedded in a scaffold-like structure formed by astrocytic processes. These results emphasize that active conditioned media implanted around the injured optic nerve of an adult rabbit causes a morphological response in addition to the already observed biochemical response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1987


  • Central nervous system
  • Conditioned media
  • Nerve regeneration


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