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Histol Histopathol. 2004 Oct;19(4):1193-9.

Differential expression of calretinin in the developing and regenerating zebrafish visual system.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Vizcaya, Spain.


Calretinin is a calcium-binding protein which participates in a variety of functions including calcium buffering and neuronal protection. It also serves as a developmental marker of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). In order to study the role of calretinin in the development and regeneration of RGCs, we have studied its pattern of expression in the retina at different developmental stages, as well as during optic nerve regeneration by means of immunohistochemistry. During development, calretinin is found for the first time in RGCs when they connect with the optic tectum. Optic nerves from adult zebrafish were crushed and after different survival times, calretinin expression in the retina, optic nerve tract and optic tectum was studied. From the day of crushing to 10 days later, calretinin expression was found to be downregulated within RGCs and their axons, as was also observed during the early developmental stages of RGCs, when they are not committed to a definite cell phenotype. Moreover, 13 days after lesion, when the regenerating axons arrived at the optic tectum, a recovery of calretinin immunoreactivity within the RGCs was observed. These results indicate that calretinin may play an important role during optic nerve regeneration, Thus, the down-regulation of Calretinin during the growth of the RGC axons towards the target during development as well as during their regeneration after injury, indicates that an increase the availability of cytosolic calcium is integral to axon outgrowth thus recapitulating the pattern observed during development.

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