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Keywords:

  • calcium-binding proteins;
  • calretinin;
  • peripheral nervous system;
  • zebrafish

Abstract

Calretinin is a calcium-binding protein found widely distributed in the central nervous system and chemosensory cells of the teleosts, but its presence in the peripheral nervous system of fishes is unknown. In this study we used Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry to investigate the occurrence and distribution of calretinin in the cranial nerve ganglia, dorsal root ganglia, sympathetic ganglia, and enteric nervous system of the adult zebrafish. By Western blotting a unique and specific protein band with an estimated molecular weight of around 30 kDa was detected, and it was identified as calretinin. Immunohistochemistry revealed that calretinin is selectively present in the cytoplasm of the neurons and never in the satellite glial cells. In both sensory and sympathetic ganglia the density of neurons that were immunolabelled, their size and morphology, as well as the intensity of immunostaining developed within the cytoplasm, were heterogeneous. In the enteric nervous system calretinin immunoreactivity was detected in a subset of enteric neurons as well as in a nerve fibre plexus localized inside the muscular layers. The present results demonstrate that in addition to the central nervous system, calretinin is also present in the peripheral nervous system of zebrafish, and contribute to completing the map of the distribution of this protein in the nervous system of teleosts.