Expression and cell localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB during zebrafish retinal development

A. Germanà, C. Sánchez-Ramos, M. C. Guerrera, M. G. Calavia, M. Navarro, R. Zichichi, O. García-Suárez, P. Pérez-Piñera, Jose A. Vega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling through TrkB regulates different aspects of neuronal development, including survival, axonal and dendritic growth, and synapse formation. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the functional significance of BDNF and TrkB in the retina, the cell types in the retina that express BDNF and TrkB, and the variations in their levels of expression during development, remain poorly defined. The goal of the present study is to determine the age-dependent changes in the levels of expression and localization of BDNF and TrkB in the zebrafish retina. Zebrafish retinas from 10 days post-fertilization (dpf) to 180 dpf were used to perform PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Both BDNF and TrkB mRNAs, and BDNF and full-length TrkB proteins were detected at all ages sampled. The localization of these proteins in the retina was very similar at all time points studied. BDNF immunoreactivity was found in the outer nuclear layer, the outer plexiform layer and the inner plexiform layer, whereas TrkB immunoreactivity was observed in the inner plexiform layer and, to a lesser extent, in the ganglion cell layer. These results demonstrate that the pattern of expression of BDNF and TrkB in the retina of zebrafish remains unchanged during postembryonic development and adult life. Because TrkB expression in retina did not change with age, cells expressing TrkB may potentially be able to respond during the entire lifespan of zebrafish to BDNF either exogenously administered or endogenously produced, acting through paracrine mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Retina
  • TrkB
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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