Cold exposure down-regulates zebrafish pigmentation

Kasem Kulkeaw, Tohru Ishitani, Takaaki Kanemaru, Ognen Ivanovski, Midori Nakagawa, Chiyo Mizuochi, Yuka Horio, Daisuke Sugiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebrates use adaptive mechanisms when exposed to physiologic stresses. However, the mechanisms of pigmentation regulation in response to physiologic stresses largely remain unclear. To address this issue, we developed a novel pigmentation model in adult zebrafish using coldwater exposure (cold zebrafish). When zebrafish were maintained at 17°C, the pigmentation of their pigment stripes was reduced compared with zebrafish at 26.5°C (normal zebrafish). In cold zebrafish, gene expression levels of tyrosinase and dopachrome tautomerase, which encode enzymes involved in melanogenesis, were down-regulated, suggesting that either down-regulation of melanin synthesis occurred or the number of melanophores decreased. Both regular and electron microscopic observation of zebrafish skin showed that the number of melanophores decreased, whereas aggregation of melanosomes was not changed in cold zebrafish compared with normal zebrafish. Taken together, we here show that cold exposure down-regulated adult zebrafish pigmentation through decreasing the number of melanophores and propose that the cold zebrafish model is a powerful tool for pigmentation research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalGenes to Cells
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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