Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Erika Calvo-Ochoa, Biology

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Neurogenesis is the process of new neuron generation in the brain. Zebrafish have 16 different neurogenic sites, which allows for effective damage and lesion repair because of the ability to constitutively regenerate neurons. In zebrafish, the olfactory bulbs — part of the olfactory system – are highly regenerative and neurogenic. Our lab established a model of excitotoxic lesion (that targets glutamatergic neurons), and determined that the olfactory bulbs are structurally and functionally recovered. However, the processes of neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb following direct injury has not been studied. In this work, we use the same neurodegenerative model using an excitotoxic lesion to the right olfactory bulb of the zebrafish brain in order to investigate the neurogenic mechanisms occurring in the olfactory bulbs during its recovery. We generated a unilateral focal excitotoxic lesion by injecting quinolinic acid (QA) to the right olfactory bulb while the left bulb was not lesioned as an internal control. We assessed recovery of the olfactory bulb at 1 and 21 days post-lesion. In order to analyze recovery and regeneration, we used immunohistochemistry to tag newly generated cells following the lesion. Our results showed that lesioning the olfactory bulb reveals new cells being generated in the ventricular zone in the adjacent telencephalon, which is a highly active neurogenic niche, after 1 day post-lesion. After 21 days post-lesion, our results showed that the new cells have begun migrating away from the ventricular zone and towards the damaged olfactory bulb, which contributes to the restoration of the right olfactory bulb back to its non-lesioned form. These preliminary findings are the first to suggest cells performing neuronal regeneration following an excitotoxic lesion in the olfactory bulbs and ventricular zone of zebrafish brains.


This material is based upon work supported by the Dow Foundation and the Hope College Biology Department.

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