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Neurite regeneration from single primary-auditory neurons in vitro

Hearing Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0378-5955(92)90014-e
  • Goldfish
  • Conditioning Lesions
  • Intrinsic Regulation
  • Endogenous Determinants
  • Regeneration
  • Peripheral Nerve


Abstract Neurons of the VIII th cranial nerve in lower vertebrates precisely reconnect with their targets after sustaining injury. It is not known, however, whether the regenerating neurites are guided entirely by external cues or may also be directed by intrinsic mechanisms. To address this issue, single adult primary-auditory neurons were dissected from goldfish and placed in an in vitro environment, devoid of the normal complement of satellite cells, neighboring neurons, and synaptic targets, to observe their patterns of growth. Because acutely isolated neurons showed little neurite outgrowth, neurite regeneration was enhanced by focally crushing the VIII th cranial nerve 2 to 24 h prior to removal for tissue culture. Neurons that regenerated under identical culture conditions showed growth patterns that could be categorized into three separate groups based on both their morphology and growth patterns. They either 1) remained unbranched (54%), 2) bifurcated or trifurcated into major branches directly from the myelinated stump (V-shaped) (19%), or 3) bifurcated from a regenerated process (Y-shaped), sometimes with a third, smaller branch (27%). Unbranched and V-shaped neurites grew at a constant elongation rate, while Y-shaped neurites grew variably, with alternating retractions and elongations. Neurite elongation was completed in a uniform time period of approximately 15 days despite the differences in elongation rate, maximum length, and latency to growth onset. The neurite branching morphology and manner of growth revealed in this study indicated that adult regenerating neurons can reproduce some elements of the final branching patterns in the absence of extrinsic cues, a capability which may ultimately contribute to the fidelity of reconnection.

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