Zebrafish extracellular matrix improves neuronal viability and network formation in a 3-dimensional culture

Kim, S.M., Long, D.W., Tsang, M.W.K., Wang, Y.
Biomaterials   170: 137-146 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Tsang, Michael
Biomaterials, CNS regeneration, ECM, Scaffold, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms
  • Actin Cytoskeleton/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Axons/metabolism
  • Calcium/metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Culture Techniques/methods*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA/metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix/metabolism*
  • Neurites/metabolism
  • Neurons/cytology*
  • Neurons/metabolism
  • Rats
  • Swine
  • Tissue Scaffolds/chemistry
  • Zebrafish/metabolism*
29665503 Full text @ Biomaterials
Mammalian central nervous system (CNS) has limited capacity for regeneration. CNS injuries cause life-long debilitation and lead to $50 billion in healthcare costs in U.S. alone each year. Despite numerous efforts in the last few decades, CNS-related injuries remain as detrimental as they were 50 years ago. Some functional recovery can occur, but most regeneration are limited by an extracellular matrix (ECM) that actively inhibits axonal repair and promotes glial scarring. In most tissues, the ECM is an architectural foundation that plays an active role in supporting cellular development and regenerative response after injury. In mammalian CNS, however, this is not the case - its composition is not conducive for regeneration, with various molecules restricting plasticity and neuronal growth. In fact, the CNS ECM alters its composition dramatically following injury to restrict regeneration and to prioritize containment of injury as well as preservation of intact neural circuitry. This leads us to hypothesize that the inhibitory extracellular environment needs be modified or supplemented to be more regeneration-permissive for significant CNS regeneration. Mammalian nervous tissue cannot provide such ECM, and synthesizing it in a laboratory is beyond current technology. Evolutionarily lower species possess remarkably regenerative neural tissue. For example, small fresh-water dwelling zebrafish (Danio rerio) can regenerate severed spinal cord, re-gaining full motor function in a week. We believe their ECM contributes to its regenerative capability and that it can be harnessed to induce more regeneration in mammalian CNS. This study shows that ECM derived from zebrafish brains promotes more neuronal survival and axonal network formation than the widely studied and available ECM derived from mammalian tissues such as porcine brains, porcine urinary bladder, and rat brains. We believe its regenerative potential, combined with its affordability, easy handling, and fast reproduction, will make zebrafish an excellent candidate as a novel ECM source.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes