4 years ago

Developmental retinal ganglion cell death and retinotopicity of the murine retinocollicular projection

Alan R Harvey, Jamie Beros, Jennifer Rodger
During mammalian visual system development, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) undergo extensive apoptotic death. In mouse retina, approximately 50% of RGCs present at birth (postnatal day 0; P0) die by P5, at a time when axons innervate central targets such as the superior colliculus (SC). We examined whether RGCs that make short-range axonal targeting errors within the contralateral SC are more likely to be eliminated during the peak period of RGC death (P1-P5), compared with RGCs initially making more accurate retinotopic connections. A small volume (2.3nl) of the retrograde nucleophilic dye Hoechst 33342 was injected into the superficial left SC of anaesthetised neonatal C57Bl/6J mice at P1 (n=5) or P4 (n=8), and the contralateral retina wholemounted 12 hours later. Retrogradely labelled healthy and dying (pyknotic) RGCs were identified by morphological criteria and counted. The percentage of pyknotic RGCs was analysed in relation to distance from the area of highest density RGC labelling, presumed to represent the most topographically accurate population. As expected, pyknotic RGC density at P1 was significantly greater than P4 (p<0.05). At P4, the density of healthy RGCs 500-750µm away from the central region was significantly less, although this was not reflected in altered pyknotic rates. However, at P1 there was a trend (p=0.08) for an increased proportion of pyknotic RGCs, specifically in temporal parts of the retina outside the densely labelled centre. Overall, the lack of consistent association between short-range targeting errors and cell death suggests that most postnatal RGC loss is not directly related to topographic accuracy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/dneu.22559

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