Removal of optic tectum prolongs the cell body reaction to axotomy in goldfish retinal ganglion cells
Injury to the optic axons of goldfish elicits dramatic changes in the cell bodies of the neurons from which these axons arise, the retinal ganglion cells. The changes include a large increase in cell size and in synthesis and axonal transport of protein. The cells begin to return to normal about 3 weeks after the injury, when the axons invade the contralateral (homotopic) lobe of the optic tectum, and recovery is essentially complete by 8-10 weeks after the lesion. However, if the homotopic lobe of the tectum was removed at the time of nerve crush, we found that the cell body reaction was greatly prolonged. The cells remained enlarged, and [3H]proline incorporation and fast axonal transport of protein remained elevated, until at least 10-12 weeks after nerve crush, although by this time most of the regenerating axons had probably regained their normal length and many had entered the remaining ipsilateral (heterotopic) lobe of the tectum. The cells showed partial recovery by the latest time tested, 26 weeks after nerve crush, when the projections from the two eyes had segregated into separate bands in the heterotopic tectal lobe.