The parapineal mediates left-right asymmetry in the zebrafish diencephalon

Joshua T. Gamse, Christine Thisse, Bernard Thisse, Marnie Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The dorsal diencephalon (or epithalamus) of larval zebrafish displays distinct left-right asymmetries. The pineal complex consists of the pineal organ anlage and an unpaired, left-sided accessory organ - the parapineal. The neighboring brain nuclei, the left and right dorsal habenulae, show consistent differences in their size, density of neuropil and gene expression. Mutational analyses demonstrate a correlation between the left-right position of the parapineal and the laterality of the habenular nuclei. We show that selective ablation of the parapineal organ results in the loss of habenular asymmetry. The left-sided parapineal therefore influences the left-right identity of adjacent brain nuclei, indicating that laterality of the dorsal diencephalon arises in a step-wise fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1068
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain laterality
  • Epiphysis
  • Epithalamus
  • Habenula
  • Pineal organ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy

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