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Dev Biol. 1987 Jul;122(1):120-38.

Germinal cells in the goldfish retina that produce rod photoreceptors.


Dividing cells and their progeny in retinae of young goldfish were labeled with [3H]thymidine, and selected cells were reconstructed from serial sections processed for electron microscopic autoradiography. Our goals were to characterize the cells that were identified as rod precursors in previous light microscopic autoradiographical studies and to determine their origin and fate. (In fish the population of rods increases several-fold postembryonically by proliferation of rod precursor cells scattered across the retina). Over 200 labeled cells taken from 11 retinas were examined, and 20 of these were reconstructed in their entirety. Some retinas were examined at short intervals (1 to 48 hr) after [3H]thymidine injection in order to study mitotically active cells, and others were examined after longer intervals (9 or 14 days) to discover the nature of the progeny of labeled dividing cells. Previous evidence from thymidine studies in larval goldfish suggested that proliferating cells destined to produce rods appear first in the inner nuclear layer and later in the outer nuclear layer, where they continue to divide and generate new rods (P.R. Johns, (1982) J. Neurosci. 2, 179). The present results provide morphological evidence in support of the suggestion that rod precursors migrate from inner to outer nuclear layer and, furthermore, show that the precursors are closely associated with, and perhaps guided by, the radial processes of Müller glial cells. Examination of EM autoradiographs of labeled cells at 9 and 14 days after a pulse label with thymidine confirms that the differentiated progeny of dividing precursor cells are exclusively rods. To our knowledge, rod precursors are the first example of a neuronal germinal cell in the vertebrate central nervous system that under normal conditions produces only one type of neuron.

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