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This article is part of the Research Topic

Recent Advances in the Genetics of Osteoporosis

Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Endocrinol. | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00006

Zebrafish as an emerging model for osteoporosis: a primary testing platform for screening new osteo-active compounds.

Dylan J. Bergen1, Erika Kague1 and  Chrissy L. Hammond1*
  • 1School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Osteoporosis is metabolic bone disease caused by an altered balance between bone anabolism and catabolism. This dysregulated balance is responsible for fragile bones that fracture easily after minor falls. With an ageing population, the incidence is rising and as yet pharmaceutical options to restore this imbalance is limited, especially stimulating osteoblast bone-building activity. Excitingly, output from large genetic studies on people with high bone mass (HBM) cases and genome wide association studies (GWAS) on the population, yielded new insights into pathways containing osteo-anabolic players that have potential for drug target development. However, a bottleneck in development of new treatments targeting these putative osteo-anabolic genes is the lack of animal models for rapid and affordable testing to generate functional data and that simultaneously can be used as a compound testing platform. Zebrafish, a small teleost fish, are increasingly used in functional genomics and drug screening assays which resulted in new treatments in the clinic for other diseases. In this review we outline the zebrafish as a powerful model for osteoporosis research to validate potential therapeutic candidates, describe the tools and assays that can be used to study bone homeostasis, and affordable (semi-)high-throughput compound testing.

Keywords: Zebrafish, screening, Genetic mutant, osteoblast, Osteoporosis, drug developement, animal model

Received: 07 Nov 2018; Accepted: 09 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

David Karasik, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Reviewed by:

Antonella Forlino, University of Pavia, Italy
Matthew Harris, Harvard Medical School, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Bergen, Kague and Hammond. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Chrissy L. Hammond, University of Bristol, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Bristol, BS8 1TH, England, United Kingdom,