The effects of lanthanum ions (La+++) on the locomotion and adhesion of g lial cells and elongating nerve axons are reported. La+++ increases adhesion of both glia and of nerve growth cones to a plastic substratum. La+++ also markedly reduces glia locomotion, but it does not inhibit nerve elongation. Electron-opaque deposits are seen on the cell surface and within cytoplasmic vesicles of glia and nerves cultured in a La+++-containing medium. Possible modes of action for La+++ are discussed, particularly the possibilities that Ca++ fluxes or Ca++ involvement in adhesion are altered by La+++. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that cell migration and nerve axon elongation differ in mechanism, with respect to both adhesive interactions and the activity of microfilament systems.

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