Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival and Axon Regeneration after Optic Nerve Transection is Driven by Cellular Intravitreal Sciatic Nerve Grafts

Zubair Ahmed, Ellen Suggate, Ann Logan, Martin Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


Neurotrophic factors (NTF) secreted by Schwann cells in a sciatic nerve (SN) graft promote retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon regeneration after either transplantation into the vitreous body of the eye or anastomosis to the distal stump of a transected optic nerve. In this study, we investigated the neuroprotective and growth stimulatory properties of SN grafts in which Schwann cells had been killed (acellular SN grafts, ASN) or remained intact (cellular SN grafts, CSN). We report that both intravitreal (ivit) implanted and optic nerve anastomosed CSN promote RGC survival and when simultaneously placed in both sites, they exert additive RGC neuroprotection. CSN and ASN were rich in myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) and axon growth-inhibitory ligand common to both the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) myelin. The penetration of the few RGC axons regenerating into an ASN at an optic nerve transection (ONT) site is limited into the proximal perilesion area, but is increased >2-fold after ivit CSN implantation and increased 5-fold into a CSN optic nerve graft after ivit CSN implantation, potentiated by growth disinhibition through the regulated intramembranous proteolysis (RIP) of p75NTR (the signalling trans-membrane moiety of the nogo-66 trimeric receptor that binds MAG and associated suppression of RhoGTP). Mϋller cells/astrocytes become reactive after all treatments and maximally after simultaneous ivit and optic nerve CSN/ASN grafting. We conclude that simultaneous ivit CSN plus optic nerve CSN support promotes significant RGC survival and axon regeneration into CSN optic nerve grafts, despite being rich in axon growth inhibitory molecules. RGC axon regeneration is probably facilitated through RIP of p75NTR, which blinds axons to myelin-derived axon growthinhibitory ligands present in optic nerve grafts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1335
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


  • CNS
  • axon regeneration
  • neuroprotection
  • neurotrophic factors
  • optic nerve
  • optic nerve transection
  • peripheral nerve grafts
  • retinal ganglion cells


Dive into the research topics of 'Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival and Axon Regeneration after Optic Nerve Transection is Driven by Cellular Intravitreal Sciatic Nerve Grafts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this