Normal, regenerating, and developing optic nerves of the goldfish were studied utilizing a monoclonal antibody (mAb) 1E1T which has specificity for Müller cells in the retina, radial ghal cells in the tectum, and non-neuronal cells in the optic nerve.
Sections of the normal optic nerve revealed longitudinally oriented chains of non-neuronal cells, that were 4–8 cells long The number of chains in the normal nerve was very few. In addition, short acellular septa, probably the connective tissue septa, were also labeled with mAb 1E1T. Sections of crushed optic nerves showed an increase in the antigen recognized by mAb 1E1T within the septa and new septa were now visualized. Furthermore, the existing septa were longer and extended the length of the optic nerve. The formation and elongation of the septa occurred as early as 3 day postcrush. Between 3 and 11 d postcrush, there was heavy labeling of the septa and a large accumulation of non-neuronal cells at the crush site. At 3 months postcrush, the accumulation of non-neuronal cells labeled by mAb 1E1T were no longer visible but heavy labeling of the septa was still apparent.