In the present study, we investigated the role and mechanism through which activated retinal glia stimulate retinal ganglion cell (RGC) neurite outgrowth. We have found that the level of retinal glial activation correlates directly with enhanced RGC neurite outgrowth after a preconditioning intravitreal Zymosan injection. Reduction in the number of activated glia in primary rat retinal cultures led to significantly reduced RGC neurite outgrowth. Glial-related neurite outgrowth appears to be, at least in part, mediated via apolipoprotein E (ApoE), which is expressed by activated retinal astrocytes and Müller glia. ApoE-deficient mice showed significantly reduced RGC neurite outgrowth potential after intravitreal Zymosan injection compared with age-matched wild-type animals. These observations suggest that ApoE, expressed by activated retinal glia, stimulates RGC neurite outgrowth after intravitreal Zymosan injection.