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Connect Tissue Res. 1999;40(2):105-12.

The zebrafish swimbladder: A simple model for lung elastin injury and repair.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.


In this communication we offer data to suggest that the zebrafish swimbladder may provide a simple model of elastin injury and repair which is amenable to genetic analysis and pertinent to lung physiology. In situ hybridization of zebrafish embryos illustrated that elastin gene expression is evident in the developing gut tract prior to swimbladder morphogenesis. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the major zebrafish elastin mRNA is 2.0 kb which is significantly smaller than its higher vertebrate counterpart. Amino acid analysis of alkali-resistant protein from the anterior chamber of the adult zebrafish swimbladder showed a composition similar to higher vertebrate elastins including significant amounts of desmosine crosslinks. Electron microscopic investigations of the swimbladder wall indicate a simple structure with an inner layer of elastin fibers. Elastase delivery to the swimbladder in vitro resulted in significant fragmentation of elastin in the anterior chamber providing an environment for studying elastin repair within the tissue.

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