Oncomodulin links inflammation to optic nerve regeneration

Yuqin Yin, Qi Cui, Hui Ya Gilbert, Yang Yang, Zhiyong Yang, Cynthia Berlinicke, Zhiwei Li, Camila Zaverucha-do-Valle, Huamei He, Victoria Petkovag, Donald J. Zack, Larry I. Benowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


The inflammatory response that accompanies central nervous system (CNS) injury can affect neurological outcome in both positive and negative ways. In the optic nerve, a CNS pathway that normally fails to regenerate when damaged, intraocular inflammation causes retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to switch into an active growth state and extend lengthy axons down the nerve. The molecular basis of this phenomenon is uncertain. A prior study showed that oncomodulin (Ocm), a Ca2+-binding protein secreted by a macrophage cell line, is a potent axon-promoting factor for RGCs. However, it is not known whether Ocm contributes to the physiological effects of intraocular inflammation in vivo, and there are conflicting reports in the literature regarding its expression and significance. We show here that intraocular inflammation causes infiltrative cells of the innate immune system to secrete high levels of Ocm, and that agents that prevent Ocm from binding to its receptor suppress axon regeneration. These results were verified in different strains, species, and experimental models, and establish Ocm as a potent growth-promoting signal between the innate immune system and neurons in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19587-19592
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 17 2009


  • Retina
  • Trophic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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