Expression and cell localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB during zebrafish retinal development.
ABSTRACT 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.
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ABSTRACT: BDNF signaling through its TrkB receptor plays a pivotal role in activity-dependent refinement of synaptic connectivity of retinal ganglion cells. Additionally, studies using TrkB knockout mice have suggested that BDNF/TrkB signaling is essential for the development of photoreceptors and for synaptic communication between photoreceptors and second order retinal neurons. Thus the action of BDNF on refinement of synaptic connectivity of retinal ganglion cells could be a direct effect in the inner retina, or it could be secondary to its proposed role in rod maturation and in the formation of rod to bipolar cell synaptic transmission. To address this matter we have conditionally eliminated TrkB within the retina. We find that rod function and synaptic transmission to bipolar cells is not compromised in these conditional knockout mice. Consistent with previous work, we find that inner retina neural development is regulated by retinal BDNF/TrkB signaling. Specifically we show here also that the complexity of neuronal processes of dopaminergic cells is reduced in conditional TrkB knockout mice. We conclude that retinal BDNF/TrkB signaling has its primary role in the development of inner retinal neuronal circuits, and that this action is not a secondary effect due to the loss of visual signaling in the outer retina.Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 08/2008; 38(3):431-43. · 3.66 Impact Factor