Exogenous nitric oxide causes collapse of retinal ganglion cell axonal growth cones in vitro

René C. Rentería, Martha Constantine-Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We show that nitric oxide (NO) from applied NO-donating chemicals induces collapse of ganglion cell axonal growth cones extending from explants of tadpole retina in culture. Peroxynitrite, a neurotoxic product of NO and superoxide reaction, did not induce collapse, and oxyhemoglobin, which binds NO, blocked the highly effective collapsing activity of the NO donor S- nitrosocysteine. Membrane-permeable analogs of cyclic guanosine monophosphate had no collapsing activity. Inhibitors of NO synthase did not induce collapse. NO is a potential retrograde messenger through which postsynaptic neurons signal to their inputs to modify synaptic efficacy following NMDA receptor activation. Our results suggest a role for NO as such a messenger during development of the retinotectal projection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-428
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • axonal growth cones
  • nitric oxide
  • retinal ganglion cells
  • tadpole retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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