The osteogenic and mineralogenic potential of the microalgae Skeletonema costatum and Tetraselmis striata CTP4 in fish models

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

Alessio Carletti, Joana T. Rosa, Katia Pes, Inês Borges, Tamára Santos, Luísa Barreira, João Varela, Hugo Pereira, M. Leonor Cancela, Paulo J. Gavaia & Vincent Laizé

Skeletal disorders are problematic aspects for the aquaculture industry as skeletal deformities, which affect most species of farmed fish, increase production costs and affect fish welfare. Following recent findings that show the presence of osteoactive compounds in marine organisms, we evaluated the osteogenic and mineralogenic potential of commercially available microalgae strains Skeletonema costatum and Tetraselmis striata CTP4 in several fish systems. Ethanolic extracts increased extracellular matrix mineralization in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) bone-derived cell cultures and promoted osteoblastic differentiation in zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae. Long-term dietary exposure to both extracts increased bone mineralization in zebrafish and upregulated the expression of genes involved in bone formation (sp7col1a1aoc1, and oc2), bone remodeling (acp5a), and antioxidant defenses (catsod1). Extracts also improved the skeletal status of zebrafish juveniles by reducing the incidence of skeletal anomalies. Our results indicate that both strains of microalgae contain osteogenic and mineralogenic compounds, and that ethanolic extracts have the potential for an application in the aquaculture sector as dietary supplements to support fish bone health. Future studies should also identify osteoactive compounds and establish whether they can be used in human health to broaden the therapeutic options for bone erosive disorders such as osteoporosis.

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