Research Article: Extraocular muscle regeneration in zebrafish requires late signals from Insulin-like growth factors

Date Published: February 7, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Alfonso Saera-Vila, Ke’ale W. Louie, Cuilee Sha, Ryan M. Kelly, Phillip E. Kish, Alon Kahana, Atsushi Asakura.


Insulin-like growth factors (Igfs) are key regulators of key biological processes such as embryonic development, growth, and tissue repair and regeneration. The role of Igf in myogenesis is well documented and, in zebrafish, promotes fin and heart regeneration. However, the mechanism of action of Igf in muscle repair and regeneration is not well understood. Using adult zebrafish extraocular muscle (EOM) regeneration as an experimental model, we show that Igf1 receptor blockage using either chemical inhibitors (BMS754807 and NVP-AEW541) or translation-blocking morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) reduced EOM regeneration. Zebrafish EOMs regeneration depends on myocyte dedifferentiation, which is driven by early epigenetic reprogramming and requires autophagy activation and cell cycle reentry. Inhibition of Igf signaling had no effect on either autophagy activation or cell proliferation, indicating that Igf signaling was not involved in the early reprogramming steps of regeneration. Instead, blocking Igf signaling produced hypercellularity of regenerating EOMs and diminished myosin expression, resulting in lack of mature differentiated muscle fibers even many days after injury, indicating that Igf was involved in late re-differentiation steps. Although it is considered the main mediator of myogenic Igf actions, Akt activation decreased in regenerating EOMs, suggesting that alternative signaling pathways mediate Igf activity in muscle regeneration. In conclusion, Igf signaling is critical for re-differentiation of reprogrammed myoblasts during late steps of zebrafish EOM regeneration, suggesting a regulatory mechanism for determining regenerated muscle size and timing of differentiation, and a potential target for regenerative therapy.

Partial Text

Loss of skeletal muscle mass, whether from degenerative disease, muscular dystrophy, denervation or trauma, is a major cause of morbidity and one of the top public health burdens [1]. In mammals, muscle injury leads to satellite cell activation and repair of focal injury, but de novo regeneration is not observed [2–4]. Degenerative muscle conditions result in atrophy, fibrosis and loss of muscle function [5]. Whether loss of muscle function is the result of severe muscle injury or degeneration, recovery of muscle function would require replacement of lost muscle tissue, i.e. de novo regeneration.

This work focuses on the regulatory role of Igf in zebrafish extraocular muscle (EOM) regeneration. In adult zebrafish, EOM regeneration begins with myocyte dedifferentiation followed by proliferation and migration of reprogrammed myoblasts, and eventually redifferentiation into myocytes that fuse to form myofibers [6]. As expected, Igf signaling inhibition impaired muscle regeneration (Fig 1), supporting the described role of Igf in promoting zebrafish tissue regeneration [10, 11], EOM plasticity and force regulation [23–25] and muscle repair more generally [12–16, 37–39].




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