The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 50: 665 - 674 (2006)

Vol 50, Issue 8

Retinal ganglion cells: dying to survive

Review | Published: 30 November -0001

Marc B. Guerin1, Declan P. McKernan1, Colm J. O'Brien2 and Thomas G. Cotter1,*

1Cell Development & Disease Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, Biosciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork and 2Institute of Ophthalmology, Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


This review examines the maturation of the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) population within the nascent retina. Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death prevalent throughout the developing central nervous system (CNS), is evident in the growth of RGCs within the ganglion cell layer. These cells provide an accessible and illuminating platform to elucidate the apoptotic pathways present in the developing CNS and the role this form of cell death plays in RGC growth. This article focuses on the seminal stages of RGC development and the role played by neurotrophic factors and apoptosis in this process.


apoptosis, development, retinal ganglion cell, retina, neurotrophin

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