Eye removal in adult rats resulted in an increase in immunohistochemical staining with antibodies to glial fibrillary acidic protein in the optic nerve, optic tract, and primary visual nuclei. Astrocytes along the primary visual pathway did not stain with antibodies to laminin in response to eye removal. There was an increase in laminin immunoreactivity associated with blood vessels along the injured pathway. These blood vessels were also shown to have an increased size. The lack of laminin induction in astrocytes along the path of degenerating optic axons may be responsible in part for the inability of axons to regenerate in the primary visual system.
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Abbreviation: GFAP-glial fibrillary acidic protein. ’ We thank Dr. Sally Palm and Dr. Leo Furcht for supplying the antisera to laminin and Dr. Doris Dahl for supplying the antisera to glial fibrillary acidic protein. Technical assistance was rendered by Ms. Ruth Wilson and Ms. Lenore Mottaz. This study was supported by grants EY0537 I and EY05372 from the National Institutes of Health, and by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. given to the Department of Ophthalmology.