ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-180125-5
Visual experience facilitates BDNF-dependent adaptive recruitment of new neurons in the postembryonic optic tectum
Hall, Z.J., Tropepe, V.
Date: 2018
Source: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience   38(8): 2000-2014 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Tropepe, Vincent
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor/metabolism*
  • Larva
  • Neurogenesis/physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity/physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi/growth & development*
  • Superior Colliculi/physiology*
  • Visual Pathways/growth & development
  • Visual Pathways/physiology
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism*
PubMed: 29363581 Full text @ J. Neurosci.
Postembryonic brain development is sensitive to environmental input and sensory experience, but the mechanisms underlying healthy adaptive brain growth are poorly understood. Here, we tested the importance of visual experience on larval zebrafish (Danio rerio) postembryonic development of the optic tectum (OT), a midbrain structure involved in visually guided behavior. We first characterized postembryonic neurogenic growth in OT, in which new neurons are generated along the caudal tectal surface and contribute appositionally to anatomical growth. Restricting visual experience during development by rearing larvae in dim light impaired OT anatomical and neurogenic growth, specifically by reducing the survival of new neurons in the medial periventricular gray zone. Neuronal survival in the OT was reduced only when visual experience was restricted for the first 5 d following new neuron generation, suggesting that tectal neurons exhibit an early sensitive period in which visual experience protects these cells from subsequent neuronal loss. The effect of dim rearing on neuronal survival was mimicked by treatment with an NMDA receptor antagonist early, but not later, in a new neuron's life. Both dim rearing and antagonist treatment reduced BDNF production in the OT, and supplementing larvae with exogenous BDNF during dim rearing prevented neuronal loss, suggesting that visual experience protects new tectal neurons through neural activity-dependent BDNF expression. Collectively, we present evidence for a sensitive period of neurogenic adaptive growth in the larval zebrafish OT that relies on visual experience-dependent mechanisms.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Early brain development is shaped by environmental factors via sensory input; however, this form of experience-dependent neuroplasticity is traditionally studied as structural and functional changes within preexisting neurons. Here, we found that restricting visual experience affects development of the larval zebrafish optic tectum, a midbrain structure involved in visually guided behavior, by limiting the survival of newly generated neurons. We found that new tectal neurons exhibit a sensitive period soon after cell birth in which adequate visual experience, likely mediated by neuronal activity driving BDNF production within the tectum, would protect them from subsequent neuronal loss over the following week. Collectively, we present evidence for neurogenic adaptive tectal growth under different environmental lighting conditions.