As society continues to age, "how to age healthily" has become an important issue. In response to this challenge, we are conducting research using zebrafish. We reported that the bone density of zebrafish vertebral bones decreases with aging using CT, but this model was not suitable for drug testing due to the labor and time involved. Therefore, we propose a model of osteoporosis using zebrafish scales. The regeneration of zebrafish scales is composed of a balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and administering adrenal cortical steroid hormones that induce osteoporosis makes osteoclasts dominant and regeneration fails. Using this model, we discovered that 10-gingerol, a new component derived from ginger, inhibits osteoclast differentiation.
Skeletal muscle aging
The aging of skeletal muscles is a major factor in the decline of motor function leading to bedriddenness. We are conducting research using zebrafish on how to maintain or strengthen skeletal muscles (see our review paper). In addition to exercise induction by feeding and forced exercise by electrical stimulation, we have recently conducted anti-fatigue tests using a swimming tunnel. By combining a mouse-derived muscle precursor cell line, C2C12, and a zebrafish test system, we are analyzing the effects of various natural-derived substances and peptides on skeletal muscles.
The maintenance of higher brain functions is also an important issue in aging. Evaluation of brain function using zebrafish covers a wide range of areas, but we mainly focus on learning function (active avoidance) and anti-anxiety evaluation. In particular, we are analyzing the effects of changes in gut microbiota caused by natural-derived substances or specific bacterial administration on brain function, as well as their effects on brain serotonin and taurine levels. We are also investigating whether it is possible to remove or reduce senescent cells, such as those represented by senescence-associated β-galactosidase, using zebrafish
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