Development and specification of cerebellar stem and progenitor cells in zebrafish: from embryo to adult

Kaslin, J., Kroehne, V., Benato, F., Argenton, F., and Brand, M.
Neural Development   8(1): 9 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Argenton, Francesco, Benato, Francesca, Brand, Michael, Kaslin, Jan, Kroehne, Volker
Cerebellum; Glia; Granule cell; Neural stem cell; Neurogenesis; Niche; Teleost; Regeneration; Upper rhombic lip; Ventricular zone
MeSH Terms
  • Aging/physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cell Differentiation/physiology*
  • Cell Lineage/genetics
  • Cell Lineage/physiology*
  • Cerebellum/cytology
  • Cerebellum/embryology
  • Cerebellum/growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/physiology
  • Neurogenesis/physiology
  • Neurons/cytology*
  • Neurons/metabolism
  • Stem Cells/cytology*
  • Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/growth & development*
23641971 Full text @ Neural Dev.


Teleost fish display widespread post-embryonic neurogenesis originating from many different proliferative niches that are distributed along the brain axis. During the development of the central nervous system (CNS) different cell types are produced in a strict temporal order from increasingly committed progenitors. However, it is not known whether diverse neural stem and progenitor cell types with restricted potential or stem cells with broad potential are maintained in the teleost fish brain.


To study the diversity and output of neural stem and progenitor cell populations in the zebrafish brain the cerebellum was used as a model brain region, because of its well-known architecture and development. Transgenic zebrafish lines, in vivo imaging and molecular markers were used to follow and quantify how the proliferative activity and output of cerebellar progenitor populations progress. This analysis revealed that the proliferative activity and progenitor marker expression declines in juvenile zebrafish before they reach sexual maturity. Furthermore, this correlated with the diminished repertoire of cell types produced in the adult. The stem and progenitor cells derived from the upper rhombic lip were maintained into adulthood and they actively produced granule cells. Ventricular zone derived progenitor cells were largely quiescent in the adult cerebellum and produced a very limited number of glia and inhibitory inter-neurons. No Purkinje or Eurydendroid cells were produced in fish older than 3 months. This suggests that cerebellar cell types are produced in a strict temporal order from distinct pools of increasingly committed stem and progenitor cells.


Our results in the zebrafish cerebellum show that neural stem and progenitor cell types are specified and they produce distinct cell lineages and sub-types of brain cells. We propose that only specific subtypes of brain cells are continuously produced throughout life in the teleost fish brain. This implies that the post-embryonic neurogenesis in fish is linked to the production of particular neurons involved in specific brain functions, rather than to general, indeterminate growth of the CNS and all of its cell types.

Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes