All Publications

  • Age-related changes in the zebrafish and killifish inner ear and lateral line. Scientific reports Coffin, A. B., Dale, E., Molano, O., Pederson, A., Costa, E. K., Chen, J. 2024; 14 (1): 6670


    Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is a debilitating disorder for millions worldwide. While there are multiple underlying causes of ARHL, one common factor is loss of sensory hair cells. In mammals, new hair cells are not produced postnatally and do not regenerate after damage, leading to permanent hearing impairment. By contrast, fish produce hair cells throughout life and robustly regenerate these cells after toxic insult. Despite these regenerative abilities, zebrafish show features of ARHL. Here, we show that aged zebrafish of both sexes exhibited significant hair cell loss and decreased cell proliferation in all inner ear epithelia (saccule, lagena, utricle). Ears from aged zebrafish had increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes and significantly more macrophages than ears from young adult animals. Aged zebrafish also had fewer lateral line hair cells and less cell proliferation than young animals, although lateral line hair cells still robustly regenerated following damage. Unlike zebrafish, African turquoise killifish (an emerging aging model) only showed hair cell loss in the saccule of aged males, but both sexes exhibit age-related changes in the lateral line. Our work demonstrates that zebrafish exhibit key features of auditory aging, including hair cell loss and increased inflammation. Further, our finding that aged zebrafish have fewer lateral line hair cells yet retain regenerative capacity, suggests a decoupling of homeostatic hair cell addition from regeneration following acute trauma. Finally, zebrafish and killifish show species-specific strategies for lateral line homeostasis that may inform further comparative research on aging in mechanosensory systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-024-57182-z

    View details for PubMedID 38509148

    View details for PubMedCentralID 7589617

  • An automated feeding system for the African killifish reveals effects of dietary restriction on lifespan and allows scalable assessment of associative learning. eLife McKay, A., Costa, E. K., Chen, J., Hu, C., Chen, X., Bedbrook, C. N., Khondker, R. C., Thielvoldt, M., Priya Singh, P., Wyss-Coray, T., Brunet, A. 2022; 11


    The African turquoise killifish is an exciting new vertebrate model for aging studies. A significant challenge for any model organism is the control over its diet in space and time. To address this challenge, we created an automated and networked fish feeding system. Our automated feeder is designed to be open-source, easily transferable, and built from widely available components. Compared to manual feeding, our automated system is highly precise and flexible. As a proof-of-concept for the feeding flexibility of these automated feeders, we define a favorable regimen for growth and fertility for the African killifish and a dietary restriction regimen where both feeding time and quantity are reduced. We show that this dietary restriction regimen extends lifespan in males (but not in females) and impacts the transcriptomes of killifish livers in a sex-specific manner. Moreover, combining our automated feeding system with a video camera, we establish a quantitative associative learning assay to provide an integrative measure of cognitive performance for the killifish. The ability to precisely control food delivery in the killifish opens new areas to assess lifespan and cognitive behavior dynamics and to screen for dietary interventions and drugs in a scalable manner previously impossible with traditional vertebrate model organisms.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.69008

    View details for PubMedID 36354233