ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-121012-16
Lactobacillus rhamnosus Accelerates Zebrafish Backbone Calcification and Gonadal Differentiation through Effects on the GnRH and IGF Systems
Avella, M.A., Place, A., Du, S.J., Williams, E., Silvi, S., Zohar, Y., and Carnevali, O.
Endogenous microbiota play essential roles in the host’s immune system, physiology, reproduction and nutrient metabolism. We hypothesized that a continuous administration of an exogenous probiotic might also influence the host’s development. Thus, we treated zebrafish from birth to sexual maturation (2-months treatment) with Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a probiotic species intended for human use. We monitored for the presence of L. rhamnosus during the entire treatment. Zebrafish at 6 days post fertilization (dpf) exhibited elevated gene expression levels for Insulin-like growth factors -I and -II, Peroxisome proliferator activated receptors -α and -β, VDR-α and RAR-γ when compared to untreated-10 days old zebrafish. Using a gonadotropin-releasing hormone 3 GFP transgenic zebrafish (GnRH3-GFP), higher GnRH3 expression was found at 6, 8 and 10 dpf upon L. rhamnosus treatment. The same larvae exhibited earlier backbone calcification and gonad maturation. Noteworthy in the gonad development was the presence of first testes differentiation at 3 weeks post fertilization in the treated zebrafish population -which normally occurs at 8 weeks- and a dramatic sex ratio modulation (93% females, 7% males in control vs. 55% females, 45% males in the treated group). We infer that administration of L. rhamnosus stimulated the IGF system, leading to a faster backbone calcification. Moreover we hypothesize a role for administration of L. rhamnosus on GnRH3 modulation during early larval development, which in turn affects gonadal development and sex differentiation. These findings suggest a significant role of the microbiota composition on the host organism development profile and open new perspectives in the study of probiotics usage and application.