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The mammalian central nervous system is capable of regenerating; however, there is no evidence that the regenerating axons can navigate along their normal pathways and reestablish topographically organized projections: essential for functional return of vision. Here retinal ganglion cells in the opossum Monodelphis were birthdated with tritiated thymidine on the sixth postnatal day (P6), before being lesioned in the temporal retina at P8. Retrograde tracing with horseradish peroxidase injected into the ipsilateral optic tract at P24 showed that the temporal crescent had reformed behind the retinal lesion. By comparisons of cell and thymidine counts from lesioned and control regions of retina, it was estimated that about 40% of the normal number of ganglion cells are able to regenerate into the ipsilateral optic tract following a lesion in the temporal retina at P8. A clear line of decussation (separation of ipsilateral and contralateral projections) reformed in the lesioned temporal retina and regenerating ganglion cells labeled with DiI were turned at appropriate points on passing through the optic chiasm. This is evidence of chiasmatic specificity with regard to lesioned retinal ganglion cells regenerating into the ipsilateral optic tract.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Neurol

Publication Date





279 - 286


Animals, Axons, Cell Count, Cell Division, Coloring Agents, Horseradish Peroxidase, Nerve Regeneration, Opossums, Optic Chiasm, Optic Nerve, Retina, Retinal Ganglion Cells, Thymidine, Visual Pathways