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The growth cone as seen through cajal's original histological preparations and publications

AuthorsGarcía-Marín, Virginia ; García-López, Pablo; Freire, Miguel
Issue Date2009
PublisherSwets & Zeitlinger
CitationJournal of the History of the Neurosciences 18: 197- 210 (2009)
AbstractDuring the development of the nervous system, each neuron must contact its appropriate target cell in order to establish its specific connections. More than a century ago, Ramon y Cajal discovered an amoeboid-like structure at the end of the axon of developing nerve cells. He called this structure the growth cone [cono de crecimiento] and he proposed that this structure was guided towards its target tissue by chemical substances secreted by the different cells that line its course. We have reviewed the discovery of the growth cone by Cajal using his original publications, his original scientific drawings, and by studying his histological preparations conserved at the Instituto Cajal (Madrid, Spain).1 We found a very good correlation between the structure of the growth cone in the Golgi-impregnated and reduced silver-nitrate-stained material used by Cajal, and that which is revealed with present-day methods. Finally, Cajal's view of the function of the growth cone and his chemotactic hypothesis will also be considered in the light of present-day knowledge.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1080/09647040801961430
issn: 0964-704X
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