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Your fish can get arthritis, too

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jul 19, 2016 09:00 AM
University of Southern California researchers have discovered that fish have joints similar to mammals that are capable of developing arthritis — just like you or me.
Your fish can get arthritis, too

A stained skeletal scan of a zebrafish. Credit: USC/Gage Crump Lab

Scientists previously thought the type of lubricated joint called a synovial joint evolved after sea animals made their way onto land because of the rigors of terrestrial mobility.  However, USC researchers believed that mobility through water also puts considerable stress on joints, so synovial joints may also prove useful underwater.  Might fish have similar joints?

Sure enough, by using CT scans and genetic tools, the researchers were able to identify joints in the jaws and fins of zebrafish, gar, and stickleback that are very similar to mammalian synovial joints.  Subsequently, the team discovered that these fish joints also produce a protein called Lubricin that is also very similar to the protein that lubricates synovial joints in humans.  And like humans, fish lacking this protein in their joints can develop early onset arthritis.

"Creating the first genetic osteoarthritis model in a fish is exciting," said Gage Trump, senior author for the upcoming paper. "Going forward, it will be fascinating to explore whether the zebrafish, which is well known for its regenerative abilities, can also naturally repair its damaged joints."

The study will be published in eLife on July 19, 2016.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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