In a search for neurotrophic factors (NTFs) regulating retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death in the chick embryo we have used purified and cultured RGCs. Purification of RGCs from embryonic day 10 was achieved by employing the “panning” method (Silverstein and Chun: Soc Neurosci Abstr 13:1054, 1987). The obtained neuron population consisted of 97% RGCs as demonstrated by retrograde labeling with a fluorescence dye. RGCs were cultured at low density in a chemically defined medium and shortterm survival (24 hr) was determined. In the absence of NTFs, less than 3% of the RGCs survived. In the presence of various crude or purified NTFs (eye, brain, and tectum extracts; glial‐conditioned medium; ciliary nerotrophic factor (CNTF); nerve growth factor (NGF)) 31% to 52% of the RGCs were maintained. The effects of NGF and CNTF were not additive. Neither acidic nor basic fibroblast growth factor was able to maintain RGCs in culture. Our results, obtained with a culture system which allowed the analysis of direct trophic actions, suggest that NGF and CNTF may be NTFs for overlapping subpopulations of chick RGCs.
Journal of Neuroscience Research – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1989
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