A role for GnRH in early brain regionalization and eye development in zebrafish

Sheng Wu, Louise Page, Nancy M. Sherwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is a highly conserved peptide that is expressed early in brain development in vertebrates. In zebrafish, we detected GnRH mRNA within 2 h post fertilization by RT-PCR. To determine if GnRH is involved in development, we used gene knockdown techniques to block translation of gnrh2 or gnrh3 mRNA after which the expression patterns for gene markers were examined at 24 h post fertilization with in situ hybridization. First, loss of either GnRH2 or GnRH3 affected regionalization of the brain as shown by a change in expression of fgf8 or pax2.1 genes in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary or diencephalon-midbrain boundary. Second, lack of GnRH2 and/or GnRH3 altered gene markers expressed in the formation of the eye cup (pax2.1, pax6.1, mab21l2 and meis1.1) or eye stalk (fgf8 and pax2.1). Third, knockdown of GnRH2 affected the size and shape of the midbrain and expression of gene markers therein. Results from assays with the TUNEL method and caspase-3 and -9 activity showed the brain and eye changes were unlikely to result from secondary apoptotic cell death before 24 h post fertilization. These experiments suggest that GnRH loss-of-function affects early brain and eye formation during development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Sep 26 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain markers (fgf8, pax2.1, pax6.1)
  • GnRH2
  • GnRH3
  • Knockdown
  • Morpholino

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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