The tyrosine hydroxylase 2 (TH2) system in zebrafish brain and stress activation of hypothalamic cells

Histochem Cell Biol. 2014 Dec;142(6):619-33. doi: 10.1007/s00418-014-1240-z. Epub 2014 Jul 16.


Two tyrosine hydroxylases (TH1 and TH2) are found in teleost fish, but no antibodies are available for TH2 protein to analyze the detailed structure of the system. We generated antibodies targeting TH2 and used them to characterize the TH2-producing cells in larval and adult zebrafish brain. The rabbit antisera reliably detected two bands corresponding to TH1 and TH2 close to 55 kDa in brain homogenates. The antisera detected neurons in brain nuclei which express th1 and th2 mRNA; knockdown of th2 expression by morpholino oligonucleotide injection abolished both the th2 mRNA signal and immunoreactivity with the rabbit antisera in TH2 cells. Double staining of samples with the rabbit antiserum made against TH2 and a monoclonal antibody which detects only TH1 allowed identification of cell groups expressing either one of the proteins. Cell groups in preoptic area, anterior, intermediate, and posterior part of the paraventricular organ contained neurons stained with the new TH2 antisera but not with the characterized monoclonal TH1 antibody. Neurons immunoreactive for TH2 and 5-HT were distinct. In situ hybridization for the mRNA of the immediate early gene c-fos combined with TH1/TH2 immunohistochemistry was used to characterize the cells of the zebrafish brain reacting to handling stress and a noxious chemical stimulus. Strong upregulation of c-fos expression was detected in hypothalamic nuclei containing TH2 cells, but few of the c-fos-expressing cells were positive for TH2, suggesting that these stressors do not directly activate a large proportion of TH2 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Chickens
  • Hypothalamus / enzymology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / genetics
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase