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Nils Dennhag, Jing-Xia Liu, Hanna Nord, Jonas von Hofsten, Fatima Pedrosa Domellöf; Absence of Desmin in Myofibers of the Zebrafish Extraocular Muscles. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(10):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.10.1.
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To study the medial rectus (MR) muscle of zebrafish (Danio rerio) with respect to the pattern of distribution of desmin and its correlation to distinct types of myofibers and motor endplates.
The MRs of zebrafish were examined using confocal microscopy in whole-mount longitudinal specimens and in cross sections processed for immunohistochemistry with antibodies against desmin, myosin heavy chain isoforms, and innervation markers. Desmin patterns were correlated to major myofiber type and type of innervation. A total of 1382 myofibers in nine MR muscles were analyzed.
Four distinct desmin immunolabeling patterns were found in the zebrafish MRs. Approximately a third of all slow myofibers lacked desmin, representing 8.5% of the total myofiber population. The adult zebrafish MR muscle displayed en grappe, en plaque, and multiterminal en plaque neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) with intricate patterns of desmin immunolabeling.
The MRs of zebrafish showed important similarities with the human extraocular muscles with regard to the pattern of desmin distribution and presence of the major types of NMJs and can be regarded as an adequate model to further study the role of desmin and the implications of heterogeneity in cytoskeletal protein composition.
The establishment of a zebrafish model to study the cytoskeleton in muscles that are particularly resistant to muscle disease opens new avenues to understand human myopathies and muscle dystrophies and may provide clues to new therapies.
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