Preparing Fresh Retinal Slices from Adult Zebrafish for Ex Vivo Imaging Experiments

Giarmarco, M.M., Cleghorn, W.M., Hurley, J.B., Brockerhoff, S.E.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE   (135): (Journal)
Registered Authors
Brockerhoff, Susan, Hurley, James B.
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Retina/diagnostic imaging*
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
29806828 Full text @ J. Vis. Exp.
The retina is a complex tissue that initiates and integrates the first steps of vision. Dysfunction of retinal cells is a hallmark of many blinding diseases, and future therapies hinge on fundamental understandings about how different retinal cells function normally. Gaining such information with biochemical methods has proven difficult because contributions of particular cell types are diminished in the retinal cell milieu. Live retinal imaging can provide a view of numerous biological processes on a subcellular level, thanks to a growing number of genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors. However, this technique has thus far been limited to tadpoles and zebrafish larvae, the outermost retinal layers of isolated retinas, or lower resolution imaging of retinas in live animals. Here we present a method for generating live ex vivo retinal slices from adult zebrafish for live imaging via confocal microscopy. This preparation yields transverse slices with all retinal layers and most cell types visible for performing confocal imaging experiments using perfusion. Transgenic zebrafish expressing fluorescent proteins or biosensors in specific retinal cell types or organelles are used to extract single-cell information from an intact retina. Additionally, retinal slices can be loaded with fluorescent indicator dyes, adding to the method's versatility. This protocol was developed for imaging Ca2+ within zebrafish cone photoreceptors, but with proper markers it could be adapted to measure Ca2+ or metabolites in Müller cells, bipolar and horizontal cells, microglia, amacrine cells, or retinal ganglion cells. The retinal pigment epithelium is removed from slices so this method is not suitable for studying that cell type. With practice, it is possible to generate serial slices from one animal for multiple experiments. This adaptable technique provides a powerful tool for answering many questions about retinal cell biology, Ca2+, and energy homeostasis.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes