Chen, S., Luo, G.R., Li, T., Liu, T.X., and Le, W. (2013) Correlation of Nr4a2 Expression with the Neuron Progenitors in Adult Zebrafish Brain. Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN. 51(3):719-23.
Our previous study showed that although Nr4a2b transcripts have little co-localization with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the posterior tuberculum area, knockdown of Nr4a2 caused a decrease in the number of TH-positive (TH+) neurons in the posterior tuberculum area. It suggests that Nr4a2 expression in the progenitors may play an important role in regulating differentiation rather than survival of TH+ progenitors in the posterior tuberculum area during early zebrafish embryogenesis. In this study, we determined the correlation between TH and Nr4a2 in adult zebrafish brain and found that Nr4a2b was co-localized with the spindle-shaped TH+ cells in the posterior tuberculum area and some small round TH+ cells in the pretectum area, but not with large pear-shaped TH+ cells in adult zebrafish diencephalon. In the pretectum area, Nr4a2+ cells were localized next to the dorsal side of TH+ cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Nr4a2 was co-expressed with nestin in the progenitors of pretectum area and caudal periventricular hypothalamic zones with a lateral symmetry pattern beside the diencephalic ventricle. Co-expression of Nr4a2 and nestin in these areas was remarkably declined with aging. These findings indicate that Nr4a2 is expressed in the neuronal progenitors and plays a crucial role in the differentiation process of dopamine neuron from the stem cell. The change in Nr4a2 expression with aging suggests its possible association with neurodegenerative diseases.