Today’s Video of the Day from Stowers Institute for Medical Research describes why experts are studying zebrafish to gain a better understanding of how the immune system responds to injury. Zebrafish have the ability to repair and regenerate organs.
“Organ regeneration offers an exciting opportunity for studying the immune system and to inquire why some species can regenerate organs like the heart or missing limbs while others like humans cannot,” explained Dr. Tatjana Piotrowski.
Zebrafish sensory organ hair cells are an ideal system to investigate the pathways and cell types involved in regeneration since they are easily destroyed with antibiotics and begin regenerating within five hours. This enabled the researchers to identify the exact timing and genetic programs for each anti-inflammatory macrophage activation state.
“Our hypothesis is that human macrophages do not receive the proper chemical activation ‘cocktail’ to instruct pro-regenerative processes,” said Dr. Nicolas Denans. “Identifying the molecular recipe of macrophage activation in zebrafish may one day enable us to design regenerative immunotherapies in humans.”
“The new evidence is a valuable resource for comparative studies on the genetic programs involved in macrophage-mediated repair and regeneration. In other words, different types of injuries may induce different kinds of inflammatory responses. We want to decipher whether this ‘language’ is universal or if there are a variety of dialects.”
Video Credit: Stowers Institute for Medical Research