The Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone-3 System in Zebrafish: Early Development and Regulation

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Abraham, Eytan
Zohar, Yonathan
The objective of this study was to expand our understanding of the early development of forebrain Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) neurons in vertebrates in general and in fish in particular. The correct migration during early development of the hypophysiotropic GnRH neurons from the olfactory region to the hypothalamus is crucial for normal gonadal development and reproduction. We developed a Tg(GnRH3:EGFP) zebrafish line in which EGFP is specifically expressed in GnRH3 neurons. Using this line, we have studied in detail the early spatiotemporal development of the GnRH3 system in vivo. In addition, we have studied various factors, including GnRH3, Netrins and Hedgehog to better understand some of the mechanisms that mediate this complex axophilic neuron migration event. Lastly, we have conducted targeted GnRH3 neuron ablation experiments in view of determining the embryonic origin of POA-hypothalamic GnRH3 neurons and the effect of lack of GnRH3 neurons in the CNS. Our findings show that: 1) GnRH neurons first differentiate and express GnRH3 at 24-26 hours post fertilization (hpf) and immediately thereafter begin to extend fibers. 2) GnRH3 neurons project a complex network of fibers, prior the GnRH3 soma migration, to various CNS regions, and to the pituitary. 3) GnRH3 soma begin migrating towards the hypothalamus at 3 days post fertilization (dpf), passing through the terminal nerve (TN), lateral telencephalon, and reaching the hypothalamus by 12 dpf. 4) expression of GnRH3 itself is necessary for the normal early differentiation and fiber extensions of GnRH3 neurons. 5) Netrin1a is directly involved as a chemoattractant in GnRH3 fiber organization and subsequently, in GnRH3 soma migration to the hypothalamus. 6). Netrin2 is required for normal early ZF embryogenesis. 7). Sonic hedgehog a does not serve as a specific factor in the development of the GnRH3 system. 8). GnRH3 neuron regeneration capacity is temporally limited. 9). Successful ablation of olfactory GnRH3 neurons during development results in lack of GnRH3 neurons in the entire sexually mature brain as well as abnormal gonadal development and inability to reproduce. This study expands our understanding vis-à-vis the early events that occur during GnRH3 system development and that regulate this complex process. In a broader sense these findings augment current knowledge regarding the regulation of long range tangential neuron migration during development.