Small aggregates of embryonic rat retina and perinatal rat sympathetic ganglia were put into culture and allowed to form axonal outgrowths. Neuritic outgrowths from adjacent sympathetic explants grew freely into one another and appeared to form common bundles; neurites from adjacent retinal explants showed a similar pattern of interaction. In contrast, when neurites from retinal and sympathetic explants confronted one another they showed a marked avoidance reaction. This response included the partial retraction of some axons, changes in the direction of their growth and, eventually, the formation of discrete bundles of a single kind of axon. In a second kind of experiment, single-cell preparations from retina and sympathetic ganglia were mixed and allowed to form aggregates. These were put into culture and the distribution of sympathetic fibres within the resulting outgrowth was detected by incubation with radioactive norepinephrine folllowed by radioautography. It was found that the sympathetic axons segregated from the retinal axons as they grew and formed separate bundles of predominantly one kind of fibre. It is concluded that selective fasciculation of nerve axons can occur in culture and we discuss some possible contributory mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology