Retinal ganglion cell axons provide the only link between the light sensitive and photon transducing neural retina and visual centers of the brain. Retinal ganglion cell axon degeneration occurs in a number of blinding diseases and the ability to stimulate axon regeneration from surviving ganglion cells could provide the anatomic substrate for restoration of vision. OTX2 is a homeoprotein transcription factor expressed in the retina and previous studies showed that, in response to stress, exogenous OTX2 increases the in vitro and in vivo survival of retinal ganglion cells. The present results show that, in addition to promoting adult retinal ganglion cell survival, OTX2 also stimulates the regeneration of their axons in vitro and in vivo. This dual activity of OTX2 on retinal ganglion cell survival and regeneration is of potential interest for degenerative diseases affecting this cell type.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience