The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 947 - 956 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 8-9

Special Issue: Eye Development

Neurotrophic regulation of retinal ganglion cell synaptic connectivity: from axons and dendrites to synapses

Published: 30 November -0001

Susana Cohen-Cory*,1 and Barbara Lom2

1Department of Neurobiology & Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA and 2Biology Department & Neuroscience Program, Davidson College, Davidson, NC, USA


This review highlights important events during the morphological development of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), focusing on mechanisms that control axon and dendritic arborization as a means to understand synaptic connectivity with special emphasis on the role of neurotrophins during structural and functional development of RGCs. Neurotrophins and their receptors participate in the development of visual connectivity at multiple levels. In the visual system, neurotrophins have been shown to exert various developmental influences, from guiding the morphological differentiation of neurons to controlling the functional plasticity of visual circuits. This review article examines the role of neurotrophins, and in particular of BDNF, during the morphological development of RGCs, and discusses potential interactions between activity and neurotrophins during development of neuronal connectivity.


retina, optic tectum, arborization, BDNF, visual system

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