DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCELens epithelial cells promote regrowth of retinal ganglion cells in culture and in vivoWong, Wai Kai*; Cheung, Anny W.S.*; Cho, Eric Y.P.Author Information Department of Anatomy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China Correspondence and requests for reprints to Eric Y.P. Cho, Department of Anatomy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China Tel: +852 26096842; fax: +852 26035031; e-mail: email@example.com Sponsorship: This study was supported by a Direct Grant for Research (2004.1.052) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. *Both authors contributed equally to this study. Received 7 February 2006; accepted 20 February 2006 NeuroReport: May 15th, 2006 - Volume 17 - Issue 7 - p 699-704 doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000215776.91850.96 Buy SDC Metrics Abstract Lens damage has been demonstrated to promote axonal regeneration of retinal ganglion cells. Various mechanisms associated with this enhancement have been proposed, including macrophage recruitment and stimulatory factors from the lesioned lens. Lens epithelial cells, which become activated as a result of injury, are another potential stimulus. A recent study of co-culturing lens epithelial cells adjacent to retinal explants without direct contact showed that neurites were attracted to grow towards them. We explored the ability of lens epithelial cells to act as a favorable substrate for ganglion cell axonal regeneration, by culturing retinal explants on top of a lens epithelial cell layer, as well as in vivo by transplanting freshly isolated lens epithelial cells to the cut optic nerve. Retinal explants cultured on lens epithelial cells regenerated more and longer neurites than those cultured on either an acellular substrate or a substrate of corneal cells, while lens epithelial cells transplanted to the optic nerve stimulated axons to regenerate in close association with them. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.