Increasing the level of cyclic adenosine 3, 5′-monophosphate is an important mechanism for axon outgrowth and recovery of central nervous system function. This study aimed to investigate the effects of papaverine, a non-specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor, on axon outgrowth of primary retinal ganglion cells from Sprague Dawley rats. Experiments were performed on primary retinal ganglion cells extracted from Sprague Dawley rat pups within 48-72 h of birth. At 24 h after seeding, immunofluorescence was used to identify and calculate the purity of retinal ganglion cells isolated by an improved two-step immunopanning method developed by author Sujia Ma. The effects of a range of papaverine concentrations on axon outgrowth of primary retinal ganglion cells cultures were observed by immunofluorescence and measured by ImageJ software at three different time points: 24, 48, and 72 h. The ability of papaverine to enable retinal ganglion cells to overcome the inhibitory effects of glial scar component chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans was examined using chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans-coated culture plates. Rp-adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphorothioate triethylammonium salt, a blocking agent of cyclic adenosine 3, 5′-monophosphate, and dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3, 5′-monophosphate, an analogue of cyclic adenosine 3, 5′-monophosphate, were used to explore the mechanism of papaverine in promoting retinal ganglion cells axon outgrowth. Our study shows 2 μg/mL papaverine concentration significantly promoted axon outgrowth in primary retinal ganglion cells and restored axon outgrowth of these cells on chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. Axon outgrowth was blocked by Rp-adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphorothioate triethylammonium salt and obviously promoted by dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3, 5′-monophosphate. Our study is the first to describe the use of papaverine to promote axon outgrowth of retinal ganglion cells. These results may help to expand the application of papaverine, and they provide a cytological basis for papaverine in the treatment of optic nerve injury caused by glaucoma and other diseases.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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