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2 thoughts on “Kink in the road: the notochord’s role in spine formation and scoliosis”

  1. This is a very lively report of exciting work on the notochord in live zebrafish embryos. The notochords is indeed the hydrostatic spine of the young vertebrate. Congratulations with these interesting findings.
    A remark I would like to leave behind is that in human scoliosis, starting at the age of 10 or so, the notochord is no longer present (unless you would call the array of nuclei pulposi in the respective intervertebral discs the notochord). Humans and mammals have intervertebral discs which are not present in other vertebrates. So given the different anatomy and timing of scoliotic deformity, I would hesitate to see zebrafish scoliosis as a proper model for human scoliosis.
    This is not to say that the observations are not intriguing and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Theo! Thank you for your insights. We do see vacuolated cells remaining in the zebrafish intervertebral disk as well as in the mammalian IVD (pigs and mice). We don’t yet know their function at later stages in the IVD. Our data suggests these cells play a role during spine morphogenesis which is relevant for congenital scoliosis. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), as you suggested, occurs later, involves other tissues, and is not well understood. Thank you for pointing this out! I should have clarified this in the article.

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