JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results






A Zebrafish Model of Diabetes Mellitus and Metabolic Memory

Published: February 28th, 2013



1Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 2Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Metabolic memory is the phenomenon by which diabetic complications persist and progress unimpeded even after euglycemia is achieved pharmaceutically. Here we describe a diabetes mellitus zebrafish model which is unique in that it allows for the examination of the mitotically transmissible epigenetic components of metabolic memory in vivo.

Diabetes mellitus currently affects 346 million individuals and this is projected to increase to 400 million by 2030. Evidence from both the laboratory and large scale clinical trials has revealed that diabetic complications progress unimpeded via the phenomenon of metabolic memory even when glycemic control is pharmaceutically achieved. Gene expression can be stably altered through epigenetic changes which not only allow cells and organisms to quickly respond to changing environmental stimuli but also confer the ability of the cell to "memorize" these encounters once the stimulus is removed. As such, the roles that these mechanisms play in the metabolic memory phenomenon are currently being examined.

We have recently reported the development of a zebrafish model of type I diabetes mellitus and characterized this model to show that diabetic zebrafish not only display the known secondary complications including the changes associated with diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and impaired wound healing but also exhibit impaired caudal fin regeneration. This model is unique in that the zebrafish is capable to regenerate its damaged pancreas and restore a euglycemic state similar to what would be expected in post-transplant human patients. Moreover, multiple rounds of caudal fin amputation allow for the separation and study of pure epigenetic effects in an in vivo system without potential complicating factors from the previous diabetic state. Although euglycemia is achieved following pancreatic regeneration, the diabetic secondary complication of fin regeneration and skin wound healing persists indefinitely. In the case of impaired fin regeneration, this pathology is retained even after multiple rounds of fin regeneration in the daughter fin tissues. These observations point to an underlying epigenetic process existing in the metabolic memory state. Here we present the methods needed to successfully generate the diabetic and metabolic memory groups of fish and discuss the advantages of this model.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious and growing health problem that results in reduced life expectancy due to disease specific microvascular (retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, impaired wound healing) and macrovascular (heart disease and stroke) complications 1. Once initiated, diabetic complications continue to progress uninterrupted even when glycemic control is achieved 2,3 and this phenomenon has been termed metabolic memory or the legacy effect. The presence of this phenomenon was recognized clinically during the early 1990s as the "The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)" progressed and since has been supported by multiple ad....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

All procedures are performed following the guidelines described in "Principles of Laboratory Animal Care" (National Institutes of Health publication no. 85-23, revised 1985) and the approved Rosalind Franklin University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee animal protocol 08-19.

There are 2 important abbreviations that are used in this manuscript. 1) DM: refers to fish that are in an acute (300 mg/dl) hyperglycemic state and have been for at least 3 weeks. 2) MM: refers to fish that wer.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Type I diabetic zebrafish not only display the known secondary complications of retinopathy and nephropathy, but also, exhibit an additional complication: impaired caudal fin regeneration. This later complication persists due to metabolic memory in fish that have restored normal glucose control following a hyperglycemic period. In Figure 2A (control) and Figure 2B (metabolic memory) representative images of regenerating fins that were captured at 72 hr post-amputation are presented. The .......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Diabetes mellitus is a disease of metabolic dysregulation, initially diagnosed as hyperglycemia, that ultimately results in blood vessel damage leading to many complications which all persist even after euglycemia is achieved though pharmaceutical intervention. This persistence of complications is referred to as metabolic memory and several recent studies have examined the role that epigenetic mechanisms play in this phenomenon. Here we have detailed a protocol that allows for the generation of both acute diabetic and me.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

This work was supported by a research grant from the Iacocca Family Foundation, Rosalind Franklin University start-up funds, and National Institutes of Health Grant DK092721 (to R.V.I.). The authors wish to thank Nikki Intine for aid in manuscript preparation.


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Name of the reagent Company Catalogue number Comments (optional)
Streptozocin Sigma Aldrich S0130
2 phenoxyethanol Sigma Aldrich P1126
Scalpel (size 10) Fisher Scientific 089275A
Petri Dishes Fisher Scientific 08-757-13
½ cc syringe, with 27 1/2 gauge needle Fisher Scientific 305620
QuantiChrome glucose assay kit. Bioassay Systems DIGL-100
Sodium Chloride Sigma Aldrich S3014
Dissecting Microscope Nikon TMZ-1500 Any dissecting microscope is fine.
Camera for Imaging Nikon Q imaging Any camera is suitable.
Image J software National Institutes of Health NIH Image
NIS Elements Nikon Any imaging software is suitable.

  1. Brownlee, M. The pathobiology of diabetic complications: a unifying mechanism. Diabetes. 54, 1615-1625 (2005).
  2. Ihnat, M. A., Thorpe, J. E., et al. Reactive oxygen species mediate a cellular 'memory' of high glucose stress signalling. Diabetologia. 50, 1523-1531 (2007).
  3. Ceriello, A., Ihnat, M. A., Thorpe, J. E. Clinical review 2: The "metabolic memory": is more than just tight glucose control necessary to prevent diabetic complications. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 94, 410-415 (2009).
  4. . The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long-term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group. N. Engl. J. Med. 329, 977-986 (1993).
  5. Turner, R. C., Cull, C. A., Frighi, V., Holman, R. R. Glycemic control with diet, sulfonylurea, metformin, or insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: progressive requirement for multiple therapies (UKPDS 49). UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Group. JAMA. 281, 2005-2012 (1999).
  6. Gaede, P. H., Jepsen, P. V., Larsen, J. N., Jensen, G. V., Parving, H. H., Pedersen, O. B. The Steno-2 study. Intensive multifactorial intervention reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2. 165, 2658-2661 (2003).
  7. Holman, R. R., Paul, S. K., Bethel, M. A., Matthews, D. R., Neil, H. A. 10-year follow-up of intensive glucose control in type 2 diabetes. N. Engl. J. Med. 359, 1577-1589 (2008).
  8. Nathan, D. M., Cleary, P. A., et al. Intensive diabetes treatment and cardiovascular disease in patients with type 1 diabetes. N. Engl. J. Med. 353, 2643-2653 (2005).
  9. . Retinopathy and nephropathy in patients with type 1 diabetes four years after a trial of intensive therapy. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Research Group. N. Engl. J. Med. 342, 381-389 (2000).
  10. Ismail-Beigi, F., Craven, T., et al. Effect of intensive treatment of hyperglycaemia on microvascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes: an analysis of the ACCORD randomised trial. Lancet. 376, 419-430 (2010).
  11. Duckworth, W. C., McCarren, M., Abraira, C. Glucose control and cardiovascular complications: the VA Diabetes Trial. Diabetes Care. 24, 942-945 (2001).
  12. Skyler, J. S., Bergenstal, R., et al. Intensive glycemic control and the prevention of cardiovascular events: implications of the ACCORD, ADVANCE, and VA diabetes trials: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association and a scientific statement of the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association. Diabetes Care. 32, 187-192 (2009).
  13. Riddle, M. C. Effects of intensive glucose lowering in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial. Circulation. 122, 844-846 (2010).
  14. Patel, A., Macmahon, S., et al. Intensive blood glucose control and vascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes. N. Engl. J. Med. 358, 2560-2572 (2008).
  15. Engerman, R. L., Kern, T. S. Progression of incipient diabetic retinopathy during good glycemic control. Diabetes. 36, 808-812 (1987).
  16. Hammes, H. P., Klinzing, I., Wiegand, S., Bretzel, R. G., Cohen, A. M., Federlin, K. Islet transplantation inhibits diabetic retinopathy in the sucrose-fed diabetic Cohen rat. Invest Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 34, 2092-2096 (1993).
  17. Kowluru, R. A. Effect of reinstitution of good glycemic control on retinal oxidative stress and nitrative stress in diabetic rats. Diabetes. 52, 818-823 (2003).
  18. Kowluru, R. A., Chakrabarti, S., Chen, S. Re-institution of good metabolic control in diabetic rats and activation of caspase-3 and nuclear transcriptional factor (NF-kappaB) in the retina. Acta Diabetol. 41, 194-199 (2004).
  19. Roy, S., Sala, R., Cagliero, E., Lorenzi, M. Overexpression of fibronectin induced by diabetes or high glucose: phenomenon with a memory. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87, 404-408 (1990).
  20. Li, S. L., Reddy, M. A., et al. Enhanced proatherogenic responses in macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells derived from diabetic db/db mice. Diabetes. 55, 2611-2619 (2006).
  21. Olsen, A. S., Sarras, M. P., Leontovich, A., Intine, R. V. Heritable Transmission of Diabetic Metabolic Memory in Zebrafish Correlates With DNA Hypomethylation and Aberrant Gene Expression. Diabetes. , (2012).
  22. Dolinoy, D. C., Jirtle, R. L. Environmental epigenomics in human health and disease. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 49, 4-8 (2008).
  23. Morgan, D. K., Whitelaw, E. The case for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans. Mamm. Genome. 19, 394-397 (2008).
  24. Ho, L., Crabtree, G. R. Chromatin remodelling during development. Nature. 463, 474-484 (2010).
  25. Jaenisch, R., Bird, A. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression: how the genome integrates intrinsic and environmental signals. Nat. Genet. 33, 245-254 (2003).
  26. Jirtle, R. L., Sander, M., Barrett, J. C. Genomic imprinting and environmental disease susceptibility. Environ. Health Perspect. 108, 271-278 (2000).
  27. Blomen, V. A., Boonstra, J. Stable transmission of reversible modifications: maintenance of epigenetic information through the cell cycle. Cell Mol. Life Sci. , (2010).
  28. Bogdanovic, O., Veenstra, G. J. DNA methylation and methyl-CpG binding proteins: developmental requirements and function. Chromosoma. 118, 549-565 (2009).
  29. Mosammaparast, N., Shi, Y. Reversal of histone methylation: biochemical and molecular mechanisms of histone demethylases. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 79, 155-179 (2010).
  30. Kouzarides, T. Chromatin modifications and their function. Cell. 128, 693-705 (2007).
  31. Gluckman, P. D., Hanson, M. A., Beedle, A. S. Non-genomic transgenerational inheritance of disease risk. Bioessays. 29, 145-154 (2007).
  32. Bjornsson, H. T., Fallin, M. D., Feinberg, A. P. An integrated epigenetic and genetic approach to common human disease. Trends Genet. 20, 350-358 (2004).
  33. Whitelaw, N. C., Whitelaw, E. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in health and disease. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 18, 273-279 (2008).
  34. Reddy, M. A., Natarajan, R. Epigenetic mechanisms in diabetic vascular complications. Cardiovasc. Res. , (2011).
  35. Villeneuve, L. M., Reddy, M. A., Natarajan, R. Epigenetics: deciphering its role in diabetes and its chronic complications. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol. 38, 401-409 (2011).
  36. Pirola, L., Balcerczyk, A., Okabe, J., El-Osta, A. Epigenetic phenomena linked to diabetic complications. Nat. Rev. Endocrinol. 6, 665-675 (2010).
  37. Cooper, M. E., El-Osta, A. Epigenetics: mechanisms and implications for diabetic complications. Circ. Res. 107, 1403-1413 (2010).
  38. Intine, R. V., Sarras, M. P. Metabolic Memory and Chronic Diabetes Complications: Potential Role for Epigenetic Mechanisms. Curr. Diab. Rep. , (2012).
  39. Amsterdam, A., Hopkins, N. Mutagenesis strategies in zebrafish for identifying genes involved in development and disease. Trends Genet. 22, 473-478 (2006).
  40. Lieschke, G. J., Currie, P. D. Animal models of human disease: zebrafish swim into view. Nat. Rev. Genet. 8, 353-367 (2007).
  41. Mandrekar, N., Thakur, N. L. Significance of the zebrafish model in the discovery of bioactive molecules from nature. Biotechnol. Lett. 31, 171-179 (2009).
  42. Goldsmith, J. R., Jobin, C. Think small: zebrafish as a model system of human pathology. J. Biomed. Biotechnol. 2012, 817341 (2012).
  43. Olsen, A. S., Sarras, M. P., Intine, R. V. Limb regeneration is impaired in an adult zebrafish model of diabetes mellitus. Wound. Repair Regen. 18, 532-542 (2010).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved