ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-140728-15
Peripheral glia have a pivotal role in the initial response to axon degeneration of peripheral sensory neurons in zebrafish
Pope, H.M., Voigt, M.M.
Date: 2014
Source: PLoS One   9: e103283 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Voigt, Mark
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Axons/drug effects
  • Axons/pathology*
  • Bacterial Proteins/genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins/metabolism
  • Cell Death/drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Larva/cytology
  • Larva/drug effects
  • Metronidazole/adverse effects*
  • Nerve Degeneration/pathology*
  • Nitroreductases/genetics
  • Nitroreductases/metabolism*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases/chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases/pathology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells/metabolism*
  • Zebrafish/genetics*
  • Zebrafish/growth & development
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
PubMed: 25058656 Full text @ PLoS One
Axon degeneration is a feature of many peripheral neuropathies. Understanding the organismal response to this degeneration may aid in identifying new therapeutic targets for treatment. Using a transgenic zebrafish line expressing a bacterial nitroreductase (Ntr)/mCherry fusion protein in the peripheral sensory neurons of the V, VII, IX, and X cranial nerves, we were able to induce and visualize the pathology of axon degeneration in vivo. Exposure of 4 days post fertilization Ntr larvae to the prodrug metronidazole (Met), which Ntr metabolizes into cytotoxic metabolites, resulted in dose-dependent cell death and axon degeneration. This was limited to the Ntr-expressing sensory neurons, as neighboring glia and motor axons were unaffected. Cell death was rapid, becoming apparent 3-4 hours after Met treatment, and was followed by phagocytosis of soma and axon debris by cells within the nerves and ganglia beginning at 4-5 hours of exposure. Although neutrophils appear to be activated in response to the degenerating neurons, they did not accumulate at the sites of degeneration. In contrast, macrophages were found to be attracted to the sites of the degenerating axons, where they phagocytosed debris. We demonstrated that peripheral glia are critical for both the phagocytosis and inflammatory response to degenerating neurons: mutants that lack all peripheral glia (foxD3-/-; Ntr) exhibit a much reduced reaction to axonal degeneration, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the clearance of debris, and impaired macrophage recruitment. Overall, these results show that this zebrafish model of peripheral sensory axon degeneration exhibits many aspects common to peripheral neuropathies and that peripheral glia play an important role in the initial response to this process.