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Science 296 (5574): 1860-1864

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Amacrine-Signaled Loss of Intrinsic Axon Growth Ability by Retinal Ganglion Cells

Jeffrey L. Goldberg,* Matthew P. Klassen, Ying Hua, Ben A. Barres

The central nervous system (CNS) loses the ability to regenerate early during development, but it is not known why. The retina has long served as a simple model system for study of CNS regeneration. Here we show that amacrine cells signal neonatal rat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to undergo a profound and apparently irreversible loss of intrinsic axon growth ability. Concurrently, retinal maturation triggers RGCs to greatly increase their dendritic growth ability. These results suggest that adult CNS neurons fail to regenerate not only because of CNS glial inhibition but also because of a loss of intrinsic axon growth ability.

Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology, Sherman Fairchild Science Building D231, 299 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5125, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jlgoldbe{at}

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