Emergence of Zebrafish as a Model System for Understanding Human Scoliosis

  • Long Guo
  • Shiro Ikegawa
  • Chisa ShukunamiEmail author


Scoliosis is a three-dimensional rotation of the spine that is defined as lateral curvature with a Cobb angle greater than 10 degrees. About 2–3% of the global population is affected by scoliosis, and more than 80% of scoliosis are caused by unknown factors (idiopathic). Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis and occurs in children over 10 years, showing a female predominance. Of scoliosis patients, 10% have curve progression requiring medical interventions such as bracing and surgery. Scoliosis research has been delayed due to the genetic complexity and a lack of relevant animal models for functional studies; however, significant breakthroughs of scoliosis study have recently been made using zebrafish. The zebrafish is a powerful tool, owing to easy genetic manipulation and a natural susceptibility to spinal curvature. Here, we summarize the utility of zebrafish as a model system for human scoliosis.


Scoliosis Polygenic disease Vertebral column Notochord 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Bone and Joint DiseasesRIKEN Center for Integrative Medical SciencesTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Division of Dental Sciences, Graduate School of Biomedical & Health SciencesHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan

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