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Gene Expr Patterns. 2004 Jan;4(1):65-70.

Temporal and spatial expression of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) in the brain of developing zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Field of Genetics and Development/Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, 445 Biotechnology Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) is a neuroendocrine decapeptide found in all vertebrate animals. The best understood function of GnRH is its endocrine function as a releasing hormone acting on the pituitary. But GnRH also functions as a neuromodulator within the nervous system. In a given species, GnRH occurs in a variety of forms that fall into three general categories based on pattern of protein/gene expression in the brain and amino acid sequence. The salmon GnRH (sGnRH), is found in the terminal nerve, where it has a neuromodulatory function. The sGnRH form is also the hypothalamic form in many fishes, although some fishes have a species specific form in the hypothalamus. Finally, chicken-GnRH-II (cGnRH-II), the most highly conserved form, is found in the midbrain where its function remains unclear. Here we have cloned the sGnRH and cGnRH-II cDNAs from zebrafish. By conducting stage specific in situ hybridization in developing zebrafish embryos, we provide a description of the spatial and temporal expression patterns of these genes. The location of sGnRH and cGnRH-II expressing cells is in agreement with previous reports of GnRH in the brains of adult fishes. Our results provide the first developmental description of GnRH gene expression where cGnRH-II and sGnRH are initially expressed at the onset of the first day after fertilization. Unlike what has been reported in many adult fishes, we did not find sGnRH expressed in the hypothalamic population during development.

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