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Monocular enucleations were done in ferret embryos before or during the earliest stages of development of the retinofugal pathway (E23-E26). The effects on the development of the uncrossed pathway from the surviving eye were assessed on embryonic day 30. This stage was chosen for two reasons: (1) we show that in normal development a substantial uncrossed component from the temporal crescent has developed by E30; and (2) the pathway cannot yet have been affected by the cell death that normally occurs in the retina in the perinatal period. Using DiI labelling from either the temporal crescent or the optic nerve head, we have shown that such early enucleations prevent the formation of the uncrossed pathway from the temporal crescent of the surviving eye. Enucleation at E23/24, before or during the period when the first axons reach the chiasm, prevents the formation of the uncrossed projection. The axons that would normally take an uncrossed course stall lateral to the midline of the optic chiasm. At E26, when many axons have reached the optic chiasm, but none yet come from the temporal crescent, enucleation causes a dramatic reduction in the uncrossed projection, and the complete abolition of the normal uncrossed pathway from the temporal crescent. This demonstrates that there is a requirement for an interaction between the axons of the two eyes at the optic chiasm to establish the normal formation of the uncrossed pathway at the optic chiasm.

Original publication




Journal article


J Comp Neurol

Publication Date





331 - 340


Animals, Axons, Carbocyanines, Eye Enucleation, Female, Ferrets, Fluorescent Dyes, Histocytochemistry, Optic Chiasm, Pregnancy, Retina, Vision, Monocular, Visual Pathways