Cholinergic neuronotrophic factors: intraocular distribution of trophic activity for ciliary neurons

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4400, pp. 1434-1436
DOI: 10.1126/science.451576


Chick ciliary ganglionic neurons require an interaction with their peripheral targets for survival during a critical period of their embryonic development in vivo. It has recently been shown that survival of these neurons in dissociated cell cultures is supported by extract from whole chick embryo. In this study, an assay system based on microwell cultures of ciliary ganglionic neurons was used to demonstrate that a very rich source of trophic factor for them is the intraocular target tissues they innervate. Out of 8000 trophic units present in a 12-day embryo, 2500 were contained in the eye. A subdissection of the eye showed its activity to be localized in a fraction containing the ciliary body and choroid coat, with a specific activity almost 20-fold higher than that of the whole embryo. This selective intraocular distribution at a time when survival or death of ciliary ganglionic neurons is decided in vivo suggests that this soluble factor may be involved in the normal development of the ciliary ganglion.