Indexed on: 08 Jun '01Published on: 08 Jun '01Published in: Tissue and Cell
The aim of this study is to investigate a fine structure of the retino-optic nerve junction in the chicken. We especially focused on the myelin sheaths and astrocytes in the intraocular optic nerve (ION) and its adjoining parts. A part of the axons of retinal nerve fiber layer (NFL) were myelinated. Ganglion cell axons were ensheathed by loose myelin in the NFL and by a compact one in the ION and optic nerve (ON). Myelin structure changed from loose type to a compact one within the very narrow NFL-ION junction. Loose myelin forming cells are dark type of oligodendrocytes in the retina. From the most peripheral ON to the choroidal part of ION, astrocytes contained abundant microtubules. The optic nerve around the lamina cribrosa is exposed to mechanical force during eye movement. It is suggested that these microtubules may perform the cytoskeletal function. Astrocytes in the retinal part of ION had longer processes filled with abundant gliofilaments. They may provide the mechanical support for the ganglion cell axons, which are exposed directly to intraocular pressure. Although astrocytes in the retinal level of ION extended their processes into the retina, their soma was never found in the retina.