Thymus development in the zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) from an ecoimmunology perspective

We investigated the thymus growth of zebrafish from early life, throughout puberty and reproductive stage, up to 1-year-old

Larissa Kernen; Jessica Rieder; Annette Duus; Henrik Holbech; Helmut Segner; Christyn Bailey

2020

Scholarcy highlights

  • The thymus is present in all gnathostome vertebrates and is an essential organ for the adaptive immune system via the generation of functional mature T-cells
  • Our results showed that the zebrafish thymus, in contrast to the human thymus, grew strongly during early life and puberty but started to undergo involution when the fish reached the reproductive age
  • The involution was characterized by reduced thymus area and thymocyte number, altered histoarchitecture, and decreasing thymocyte marker gene transcript levels
  • Our findings suggest that age-related changes of the zebrafish thymus do exist and could be partly explained in terms of resource tradeoffs, and in terms of the ontogenetically late development of a functional adaptive immune system in teleosts
  • Zebrafish thymus growth peaks at puberty and age-related involution starts at reproduction, in contrast to mammals where thymus involution starts in early life, suggesting different ecological and evolutionary pressures on thymus development
  • Any queries should be directed to the corresponding author for the article

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