Osteoblast and osteoclast behavior in zebrafish cultured scales

Cell Tissue Res. 2012 Oct;350(1):69-75. doi: 10.1007/s00441-012-1436-2. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Fish scale culture can be used as a model to test the effects of several molecules on bone metabolism by histological and biochemical methods, although solid cell biology data about the behavior of the scale cells in culture are needed if such a model is to be employed for pharmacological applications. In the present study, we cultured zebrafish scales at various temperatures and for various times and analyzed the behavior of the bone cells in terms of viability and activity. We demonstrated that the cultured scale cells maintained their usual distribution at 28°C until 72 h, after which time episquamal osteoblasts showed an obvious change in their cell organization followed by an increase in cell death. Osteoclast tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and osteoblast alkaline phosphatase activities were maintained until 72 h but were reduced at 96 h as a consequence of the massive cell death. This scenario indicates that zebrafish scales cultured until 72 h can be considered as an innovative model of explanted organ culture to assay the ability of chemical compounds to modulate the metabolism of bone cells.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animal Structures / cytology*
  • Animal Structures / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Shape
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / cytology*
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology*


  • Indoles
  • Isoenzymes
  • DAPI
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase