An opioid epidemic is spreading in North America with millions of opioid overdoses annually. Opioid drugs, like fentanyl, target the mu opioid receptor system and induce potentially lethal respiratory depression. The challenge in opioid research is to find a safe pain therapy with analgesic properties but no respiratory depression. Current discoveries are limited by lack of amenable animal models to screen candidate drugs. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an emerging animal model with high reproduction and fast development, which shares remarkable similarity in their physiology and genome to mammals. However, it is unknown whether zebrafish possesses similar opioid system, respiratory and analgesic responses to opioids than mammals. In freely-behaving larval zebrafish, fentanyl depresses the rate of respiratory mandible movements and induces analgesia, effects reversed by mu-opioid receptor antagonists. Zebrafish presents evolutionary conserved mechanisms of action of opioid drugs, also found in mammals, and constitute amenable models for phenotype-based drug discovery.
All data generated during this study are included in the manuscript. Source files are available.
- Gaspard Montandon
- Gaspard Montandon
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: The protocol was approved by the Animal Care Committee of St. Michael's Hospital. Protocol: ACC-811
- Allan Basbaum, University of California San Francisco, United States
© 2021, Zaig et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Individuals recently diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease are at higher risk of developing a mental illness, with mortality increasing when both conditions are present.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) and other components contained in extracellular vesicles may reflect the presence of a disease. Lung tissue, sputum, and sera of individuals with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) show alterations in miRNA expression. We designed this study to test whether urine and/or tissue derived exosomal miRNAs from individuals with IPF carry cargo that can promote fibrosis.
Exosomes were isolated from urine (U-IPFexo), lung tissue myofibroblasts (MF-IPFexo), serum from individuals with IPF (n=16) and age/sex-matched controls without lung disease (n=10). We analyzed microRNA expression of isolated exosomes and their in vivo bio-distribution. We investigated the effect on ex vivo skin wound healing and in in vivo mouse lung models.
U-IPFexo or MF-IPFexo expressed miR-let-7d, miR-29a-5p, miR-181b-3p and miR-199a-3p consistent with previous reports of miRNA expression obtained from lung tissue/sera from patients with IPF. In vivo bio-distribution experiments detected bioluminescent exosomes in the lung of normal C57Bl6 mice within 5 min after intravenous infusion, followed by distribution to other organs irrespective of exosome source. Exosomes labeled with gold nanoparticles and imaged by transmission electron microscopy were visualized in alveolar epithelial type I and type II cells. Treatment of human and mouse lung punches obtained from control, non-fibrotic lungs with either U-IPFexo or MF-IPFexo produced a fibrotic phenotype. A fibrotic phenotype was also induced in a human ex vivo skin model and in in vivo lung models.
Our results provide evidence of a systemic feature of IPF whereby exosomes contain pro-fibrotic miRNAs when obtained from a fibrotic source and interfere with response to tissue injury as measured in skin and lung models.
This work was supported in part by Lester and Sue Smith Foundation and The Samrick Family Foundation and NIH grants R21 AG060338 (SE and MKG), U01 DK119085 (IP, RS, MTC).