Cadmium is a biologically non-essential metal. It is also toxic to many organs including the brain. The aim of this study was to analyse the neurodegenerative effects of this metal in embryos and adults of zebrafish exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of cadmium. The study was performed by cytochemical stainings. Six hours after fertilisation (hpf) zebrafish embryos were treated for 24 hours with 9 μM of cadmium and subsequently stained with Acridine orange in whole mount to detect apoptosis in the brain. Adult zebrafish were treated for 16 days with the same concentration of cadmium, and cell death in the brain was detected by Fluoro-Jade B staining at 2, 7 and 16 days of treatment. An increase in cell death was observed only at 16 days of treatment in adults, while an increase in apoptotic events was revealed in the brain of embryos after 24 h of treatment. This evidence is indicative that cadmium, even at a sub-lethal concentration, induces cell death in the brain of embryos but also in adults of zebrafish in which the phenomenon appears time-dependent.