THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Cambridge TB study uses zebrafish as pathogenesis model

TB study includes zebrafish | Courtesy of zfin.org
A researcher from Cambridge University has found that zebrafish serve as a suitable model for tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis studies.

Over 1.5 million people die from TB infections every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the illness is ironic and paradoxical; despite antibiotic treatments, TB remains at large, and TB-infected material does not transmit the disease, only aerosolized particles.

Aerosolized particles in the form of droplets can work into the lung’s alveolar spaces, causing TB. The macrophages host the bacteria and allows the TB to settle into the lungs’ lymphoid tissues. It then spreads to other organs.

“It is killing more people today than it has ever killed before,” Cambridge professor Lalita Ramakrishnan said. “Multidrug resistant tuberculosis is quite widespread. TB is now the lethal disease that it was in the pre-antibiotic years.”

During a recent presentation titled “The Zebrafish Guide to Tuberculosis," she explained the creatures are susceptible to contracting Mycobacterium marinum, which is the closest genetic relative of TB in the world. This makes the fish a beneficial model organism, allowing scientists to study the lifecycle of TB, which could help them to discover the best ways to disrupt the disease’s spread and transmission.

Organizations in this story

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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