Cellular proliferation and neurogenesis in the injured retina of adult zebrafish

Vis Neurosci. Sep-Oct 2000;17(5):789-97. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800175121.


The retinas of adult teleost fish can regenerate neurons following a chemical or mechanical injury. Previous studies have demonstrated that mechanical excision of fish retina induces a hyperplasia within the retinal sheet, including the formation of a proliferative blastema from whence new retinal cells are produced to fill the excision site. The current study was designed to address two issues regarding injury-induced retinal hyperplasia: (1) Retinas of adult zebrafish can regenerate following a surgical excision, but compared to other fish they contain very few proliferative cells: Might retinal injury in adult zebrafish therefore induce minimal, or perhaps no, hyperplasia? (2) The fate of injury-induced, proliferative retinal cells outside surgical excision sites has yet to be determined. Do such cells produce retinal neurons? Evidence is presented that mechanical injury to the adult zebrafish retina induces a dramatic increase in the number of proliferative cells both within and external to the lesion site, and some of these cells apparently migrate within the radial dimension of the retina. Evidence is also presented that injury-induced proliferative cells outside a lesion site can produce retinal neurons--including cone photoreceptors, interplexiform cells, and amacrine cells--that are incorporated into the extant retina. The results suggest that the adult zebrafish retina contains a latent population of cells that is induced to proliferate following retinal injury, and that these cells might represent a novel avenue for pluripotent neurogenesis within the intact adult teleost retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retina / injuries*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology
  • Zebrafish / growth & development*
  • Zebrafish / injuries*


  • Bromodeoxyuridine