Montalbano, G., Capillo, G., Laurà, R., Abbate, F., Levanti, M., Guerrera, M.C., Ciriaco, E., Germanà, A. (2018) Neuromast hair cells retain the capacity of regeneration during heavy metal exposure. Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft. 218:183-189.
The neuromast is the morphological unit of the lateral line of fishes and is composed of a cluster of central sensory cells (hair cells) surrounded by support and mantle cells. Heavy metals exposure leads to disruption of hair cells within the neuromast. It is well known that the zebrafish has the ability to regenerate the hair cells after damage caused by toxicants. The process of regeneration depends on proliferation, differentiation and cellular migration of sensory and non-sensory progenitor cells. Therefore, our study was made in order to identify which cellular types are involved in the complex process of regeneration during heavy metals exposure. For this purpose, adult zebrafish were exposed to various heavy metals (Arsenic, cadmium and zinc) for 72hours. After acute (24h) exposure, immunohistochemical localization of S100 (a specific marker for hair cells) in the neuromasts highlighted the hair cells loss. The immunoreaction for Sox2 (a specific marker for stem cells), at the same time, was observed in the support and mantle cells, after exposure to arsenic and cadmium, while only in the support cells after exposure to zinc. After chronic (72h) exposure the hair cells were regenerated, showing an immunoreaction for S100 protein. At the same exposure time to the three metals, a Sox2 immunoreaction was expressed in support and mantle cells. Our results showed for the first time the regenerative capacity of hair cells, not only after, but also during exposure to heavy metals, demonstrated by the presence of different stem cells that can diversify in hair cells.