Director: Dr. Massimo Mariotti
Our research is focus on the study of Danio rerio (zebrafish), one of the most widely used vertebrate models in biomedical research, using both embryonic and adult models applied to orthopedic research.
Zebrafish embryos are a very versatile model, they have fast development and treatments can be easily performed simply by dissolving the drugs in the water. Zebrafish embryo is a powerful model to study osteogenesis, five days after eggs fertilization the first mineralized vertebrae are already present and thanks to embryos transparency they can be visualized using vital dyes specific for the mineralized matrix. Because of these characteristics, zebrafish embryos might provide important opportunities to accelerate the process of new drug screening concerning human bone diseases.
Zebrafish represents also an important resource to study bone metabolism in the adult bone tissue. In fact, adult zebrafish provides the innovative scale read-out model that allows specific opportunities to study adult bone turnover, remodeling and reparation. Using the scale system we perform studies concerning the mechanisms of bone functions in physiological conditions, pathological models and pharmacological testing. Both embryonic and adult zebrafish models offer different applications and opportunities for physiological bone tissue studies, translational medicine, physiopathology studies and new drug screening.