Morphometrical analysis of dendritic arborization in axotomized retinal ganglion cells


: Dr Pedro de la Villa, as above.


It has been reported that section of the optic nerve in mammals causes death in >90% of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The cells which survive the section experience an irreparable loss of many of their dendritic segments and a rapid retraction of the dendritic tree. However, some growth cones and abnormal processes have been also reported. Our aim was to make a quantitative study of the morphological changes found in rabbit RGCs after optic nerve section. The morphometrical analysis of the RGCs which survived the axotomy showed an increase in the diameter of the soma and a significant increase in the area of the dendritic field; also, the length of the dendritic segments was significantly longer in axotomized RGCs than in control cells. Terminal dendritic segments (T) and preterminal segments (PT) were both measured in control and axotomized cells; the length ratio of T : PT segments was significantly greater in the axotomized cells than in the controls. We conclude that RGCs which survived the axotomy experienced a significant growth of their terminal dendritic branches.