ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-130816-41
Prednisolone induces osteoporosis-like phenotype in regenerating zebrafish scales
de Vrieze, E., van Kessel, M.A., Peters, H.M., Spanings, F.A., Flik, G., and Metz, J.R.
Date: 2014
Source: Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA   25(2): 567-78 (Journal)
Registered Authors: de Vrieze, Erik, Flik, Gert, Metz, Juriaan R., van Kessel, Maartje
Keywords: glycocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, osteoblast, osteoclast, scale regeneration, zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animal Structures/drug effects
  • Animal Structures/physiology
  • Animals
  • Bone Density/drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Expression Profiling/methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects
  • Glucocorticoids/toxicity*
  • Male
  • Osteoclasts/drug effects
  • Osteoporosis/chemically induced*
  • Osteoporosis/physiopathology
  • Phenotype
  • Prednisolone/analogs & derivatives*
  • Prednisolone/toxicity
  • Regeneration
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 23903952 Full text @ Osteoporos. Int.


We demonstrate that glucocorticoids induce an osteoporotic phenotype in regenerating scales of zebrafish. Exposure to prednisolone results in altered mineral content, enhanced matrix breakdown, and an osteoporotic gene-expression profile in osteoblasts and osteoclasts. This highlights that the zebrafish scale provides a powerful tool for preclinical osteoporosis research.


This study aims to evaluate whether glucocorticoid (prednisolone) treatment of zebrafish induces an osteoporotic phenotype in regenerating scales. Scales, a readily accessible dermal bone tissue, may provide a tool to study direct osteogenesis and its disturbance by glucocorticoids.


In adult zebrafish, treated with 25 µM prednisolone phosphate via the water, scales were removed and allowed to regenerate. During regeneration scale morphology and the molar calcium/phosphorus ratio in scales were assessed and osteoblast and osteoclast activities were monitored by time profiling of cell-specific genes; mineralization was visualized by Von Kossa staining, osteoclast activity by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase histochemistry.


Prednisolone (compared to controls) enhances osteoclast activity and matrix resorption and slows down the build up of the calcium/phosphorus molar ratio indicative of altered crystal maturation. Prednisolone treatment further impedes regeneration through a shift in the time profiles of osteoblast and osteoclast genes that commensurates with an osteoporosis-like imbalance in bone formation.


A glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis phenotype as seen in mammals was induced in regenerating scalar bone of zebrafish treated with prednisolone. An unsurpassed convenience and low cost then make the zebrafish scale a superior model for preclinical studies in osteoporosis research.