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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2011 Jun;29(4):441-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2011.02.008. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

Characterisation of neuronal and glial populations of the visual system during zebrafish lifespan.

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Grupo de Neurobiología del Desarrollo-GNDe, Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos, Finca La Peraleda s/n, Toledo, E-45071, Spain.


During visual system morphogenesis, several cell populations arise at different time points correlating with the expression of specific molecular markers We have analysed the distribution pattern of three molecular markers (zn-1, calretinin and glial fibrillary acidic protein) which are involved in the development of zebrafish retina and optic tectum. zn-1 is a neural antigen expressed in the developing zebrafish central nervous system. Calretinin is the first calcium-binding protein expressed in the central nervous system of vertebrates and it is widely distributed in different neuronal populations of vertebrate retina, being a valuable marker for its early and late development. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), which is an astroglial marker, is a useful tool for characterising the glial environment in which the optic axons develop. We describe the expression profile changes in these three markers throughout the zebrafish lifespan with special attention to ganglion cells and their projections. zn-1 is expressed in the first postmitotic ganglion cells of the retina. Calretinin is observed in the ganglion and amacrine cells of the retina in neurons of different tectal bands and in axons of retinofugal projections. GFAP is localised in the endfeet of Müller cells and in radial processes of the optic tectum after hatching. A transient expression of GFAP in the optic nerve, coinciding with the arrival of the first calretinin-immunoreactive optic axons, is observed. As axonal growth occurs in these regions of the zebrafish visual pathway (retina and optic tectum) throughout the lifespan, a relationship between GFAP expression and the correct arrangement of the first optic axons may exist. In conclusion we provide valuable neuroanatomical data about the best characterised sensorial pathway to be used in further studies such as teratology and toxicology.

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