Intraretinal projection of retinal ganglion cell axons as a model system for studying axon navigation

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine and Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Axons; Cell Adhesion Molecules; Cues; Growth Cones; Humans; Models, Biological; Nerve Growth Factors; Neural Pathways; Retina; Retinal Ganglion Cells


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The initial step of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon pathfinding involves directed growth of RGC axons toward the center of the retina, the optic disc, a process termed "intraretinal guidance". Due to the accessibility of the system, and with various embryological, molecular and genetic approaches, significant progress has been made in recent years toward understanding the mechanisms involved in the precise guidance of the RGC axons. As axons are extending from RGCs located throughout the retina, a multitude of factors expressed along with the differentiation wave are important for the guidance of the RGC axons. To ensure that the RGC axons are oriented correctly, restricted to the optic fiber layer (OFL) of the retina, and exit the eye properly, different sets of positive and negative factors cooperate in the process. Fasciculation mediated by a number of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) and modulation of axonal response to guidance factors provide additional mechanisms to ensure proper guidance of the RGC axons. The intraretinal axon guidance thus serves as an excellent model system for studying how different signals are regulated, modulated and integrated for guiding a large number of axons in three-dimensional space.

DOI of Published Version



Brain Res. 2008 Feb 4;1192:165-77. Epub 2007 Feb 2. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Brain research

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID