Laser-mediated osteoblast ablation triggers a pro-osteogenic inflammatory response regulated by reactive oxygen species and glucocorticoid signaling in zebrafish

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



In zebrafish, transgenic labeling approaches, robust regenerative responses and excellent in vivo imaging conditions enable precise characterization of immune cell behavior in response to injury. Here, we monitored osteoblast-immune cell interactions in bone, a tissue which is particularly difficult to in vivo image in tetrapod species. Ablation of individual osteoblasts leads to recruitment of neutrophils and macrophages in varying numbers, depending on the extent of the initial insult, and initiates generation of cathepsin K+ osteoclasts from macrophages. Osteoblast ablation triggers the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, which are needed for successful macrophage recruitment. Excess glucocorticoid signaling as it occurs during the stress response inhibits macrophage recruitment, maximum speed and changes the macrophage phenotype. Although osteoblast loss is compensated for within a day by contribution of committed osteoblasts, macrophages continue to populate the region. Their presence is required for osteoblasts to fill the lesion site. Our model enables visualization of bone repair after microlesions at single-cell resolution and demonstrates a pro-osteogenic function of tissue-resident macrophages in non-mammalian vertebrates.


Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev199803
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge, England)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85129779726
unpaywall 10.1242/dev.199803
ORCID /0000-0002-0420-7477/work/142250380


Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Animals, Glucocorticoids, Lasers, Osteoblasts, Reactive Oxygen Species, Zebrafish, Reactive oxygen species, Lineage tracing, Osteoblast, Glucocorticoid, Macrophage

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