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J Neurobiol June 15, 2002; 51 (4): 272-84.

GABA and development of the Xenopus optic projection.

Ferguson SC , McFarlane S .

In the developing visual system of Xenopus laevis retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons extend through the brain towards their major target in the midbrain, the optic tectum. Enroute, the axons are guided along their pathway by cues in the environment. In vitro, neurotransmitters have been shown to act chemotropically to influence the trajectory of extending axons and regulate the outgrowth of developing neurites, suggesting that they may act to guide or modulate the growth of axons in vivo. Previous work by Roberts and colleagues (1987) showed that populations of cells within the developing Xenopus diencephalon and mid-brain express the neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). Here we show that Xenopus RGC axons in the midoptic tract grow alongside the GABAergic cells and cross their GABA immunopositive nerve processes. Moreover, RGC axons and growth cones express GABA-A and GABA-B receptors, and GABA and the GABA-B receptor agonist baclofen both stimulate RGC neurite outgrowth in culture. Finally, the GABA-B receptor antagonist CGP54626 applied to the developing optic projection in vivo causes a dose-dependent shortening of the optic projection. These data indicate that GABA may act in vivo to stimulate the outgrowth of Xenopus RGC axons along the optic tract.

PubMed ID: 12150503
Article link: J Neurobiol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gabbr1 hspa9 igf2bp3 isl1 tec
Antibodies: Gabbr1 Ab1

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