Halfter, W. and Reckhaus, W. and Kröger, Stephan
Nondirected axonal growth on basal lamina from avian embryonic neural retina.
In: The Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 7: pp. 3712-3722
The vitreous surface of the embryonic avian retinal neuroepithelium was isolated by mechanical disruption of the retina mounted between 2 adhesive substrata. The 200-micron-thick sheath covered an area of up to 1 cm2 and consisted of the vitreal basal lamina with a lamina densa, 2 laminae rarae, and a carpet of ventricular cell endfeet on top of the lamina. The vitreal endfeet were removed by detergent treatment and an extracellular basal lamina was obtained. The laminae were further characterized by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. A 190 kDa laminin protein was detected in laminae with and without vitreal endfeet, whereas the membrane-bound neural cell adhesion molecule (N- CAM) was detectable only on the endfeet of the ventricular cells and was absent in the detergent-treated basal laminae. Neither immunoblotting nor immunostaining revealed fibronectin in these preparations. Explants of retina, sensory ganglia, and cerebellum from chick, quail, and mouse were cultured on the basal lamina as a substratum. In all cases axonal outgrowth was excellent, with a growth rate similar to that in situ. Outgrowing axons from sensory ganglia and cerebellar explants were accompanied by migratory cells, which, in the case of sensory ganglia, were flat cells and, in the case of cerebellar explants, resembled granular neurons. Optic axons grew on the laminae in an asymmetric, explant-inherent pattern specific for the position of origin of the explant. On detergent-treated basal laminae, as well as on laminin, the retinal axons grew in a clockwise orientation. This axonal growth pattern was specific for retinal tissue and was not observed with axons from other neural explants. In spite of the excellent substrate properties provided by the substratum, cues for growing axons (toward or away from the optic disk) were not detectable in the basal lamina preparations.