Fate bias during neural regeneration adjusts dynamically without recapitulating developmental fate progression

Jeremy Ng Chi Kei, Peter David Currie, Patricia Regina Jusuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Regeneration of neurons in the central nervous system is poor in humans. In other vertebrates neural regeneration does occur efficiently and involves reactivation of developmental processes. Within the neural retina of zebrafish, Müller glia are the main stem cell source and are capable of generating progenitors to replace lost neurons after injury. However, it remains largely unknown to what extent Müller glia and neuron differentiation mirror development. Methods: Following neural ablation in the zebrafish retina, dividing cells were tracked using a prolonged labelling technique. We investigated to what extent extrinsic feedback influences fate choices in two injury models, and whether fate specification follows the histogenic order observed in development. Results: By comparing two injury paradigms that affect different subpopulations of neurons, we found a dynamic adaptability of fate choices during regeneration. Both injuries followed a similar time course of cell death, and activated Müller glia proliferation. However, these newly generated cells were initially biased towards replacing specifically the ablated cell types, and subsequently generating all cell types as the appropriate neuron proportions became re-established. This dynamic behaviour has implications for shaping regenerative processes and ensuring restoration of appropriate proportions of neuron types regardless of injury or cell type lost. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that regenerative fate processes are more flexible than development processes. Compared to development fate specification we observed a disruption in stereotypical birth order of neurons during regeneration Understanding such feedback systems can allow us to direct regenerative fate specification in injury and diseases to regenerate specific neuron types in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages14
JournalNeural Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017


  • Fate bias
  • Fate specification
  • Neural regeneration
  • Retina
  • Zebrafish

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