Development and characterization of a chronic photoreceptor degeneration model in adult zebrafish that does not trigger a regenerative response

Turkalj, B., Quallich, D., Bessert, D.A., Kramer, A.C., Cook, T.A., Thummel, R.
Experimental Eye Research   209: 108630 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Thummel, Ryan
Gliosis, Müller glia, Phototoxic lesion, Regeneration, Stem cell, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ependymoglial Cells/pathology
  • Nerve Regeneration/physiology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells/pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration/diagnosis*
  • Retinal Degeneration/physiopathology
  • Retinal Neurons/pathology*
  • Zebrafish
34029596 Full text @ Exp. Eye. Res.
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have become a highly-utilized model system in the field of regenerative biology because of their endogenous ability to regenerate many tissues and organs, including the retina. The vast majority of previous research on retinal regeneration in adult zebrafish utilizes acute methodologies for retinal damage. Acute retinal cell death triggers a reactive gliosis response of Müller glia (MG), the resident macroglia of the retina. In addition, each activated MG undergoes asymmetric cell division to produce a neuronal progenitor, which continues to divide and ultimately gives rise to new retinal neurons. Studies using these approaches have uncovered many crucial mechanisms by which MG respond to acute damage. However, they may not adequately mimic the chronic neuronal degeneration observed in many human retinal degenerative diseases. The current study aimed to develop a new long-term, chronic photoreceptor damage and degeneration model in adult zebrafish. Comparing the subsequent cellular responses to that of the commonly-used acute high-intensity model, we found that low, continuous light exposure damaged the outer segments of both rod and cone photoreceptors, but did not result in significant apoptotic cell death, MG gliosis, or MG cell-cycle re-entry. Instead, chronic light nearly completely truncated photoreceptor outer segments and resulted in a recruitment of microglia to the area. Together, these studies present a chronic photoreceptor model that can be performed in a relatively short time frame (21 days), that may lend insight into the cellular events underlying non-regenerative photoreceptor degeneration observed in other model systems.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes