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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Developmental changes of aggrecan, versican and neurocan in the retina and optic nerve.

We have used a monoclonal antibody to neurocan and specific polyclonal antibodies to the non-homologous glycosaminoglycan attachment regions of aggrecan and mRNA splice variants of versican to compare the localization and developmental changes of these structurally related hyaluronan-binding chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in the rat retina and optic nerve. Staining for aggrecan and versican was first seen at embryonic day 16 in the optic nerve and retina, whereas neurocan was not detected in the embryonic eye. At postnatal day 0 (P0), beta-versican staining is largely confined to the inner plexiform layer whereas alpha-versican is also apparent in the neuroblastic layer. Both aggrecan and, much more weakly, neurocan immunoreactivity is present throughout the neonatal retina. At P9, aggrecan and versican immunoreactivity is most intense in the inner and outer plexiform and ganglion cell layers, accompanied by diffuse staining in the inner and outer nuclear layers. Aggrecan and alpha-versican are also present throughout the optic nerve and disk, whereas beta-versican and neurocan are confined to the laminar beams of the optic nerve. Between P0 and P9 there is a marked increase in beta-versican expression in the inner and outer nuclear layers and in the outer plexiform layer, whereas there is only weak staining of neurocan in the inner plexiform and ganglion cell layers of P9 retina. By 1 month postnatal the staining pattern of the fully differentiated retinal layers is essentially identical to that seen in the adult, where there is strong aggrecan and alpha-versican immunoreactivity in the retina and optic nerve, whereas beta-versican has essentially disappeared from the adult retina and, similarly to neurocan, is present only in the laminar beams of the optic nerve. The marked decrease of beta-versican in the retina is consistent with >90% decrease in its concentration in brain during postnatal development, suggesting that the developmental time-course for these proteoglycans in retina parallels that seen in other areas of the central nervous system.[1]


  1. Developmental changes of aggrecan, versican and neurocan in the retina and optic nerve. Popp, S., Maurel, P., Andersen, J.S., Margolis, R.U. Exp. Eye Res. (2004) [Pubmed]
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