Danio rerio (zebrafish), like the Roman god Janus, is an old animal model which is recently emerged and looks to the future with an increasing scientific success. Unlike other traditional animal models, zebrafish represents a versatile way to approach the study of the skeleton. Transparency of the larval stage, genetic manipulability and unique anatomical structures (scales) makes zebrafish a powerful and versatile instrument to investigate the bone tissue in terms of structure and function. Like Janus, zebrafish offers two different faces, or better, two models in one animal: larval and adult stage. The embryo can be used to isolate new genes involved in osteogenesis by large-scale mutagenesis screenings. The behavior of bone cells and genes in osteogenesis can be investigate by using transgenic lines, vital dyes, mutants and traditional molecular biology techniques. The adult zebrafish represents an important resource to study the pathways related to the bone metabolism and turnover. In particular, the properties of the caudal fin allow to study mechanisms of bone regeneration and reparation whereas the elasmoid scale represents an unique tool to investigate the bone metabolism under physiological or pathological conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Internal Medicine