In the last decades, it became clear that not only molecular signals but also mechanical forces are crucial regulators of developmental processes. To help unravel the molecular mechanisms via which mechanical forces mediate their control of developmental processes, we subjected zebrafish larvae to swim-training, which presumably increases mechanical load, and investigated the effect thereof on a molecular, morphological and kinematic level during development.
Our study is the first to demonstrate that swim-training can increase growth and lead to morphological and molecular changes during zebrafish larval development and in the caudal fin. .
The order of the onset of skeletal elements in the head, trunk and fin changes under the influence of swim-training.
Furthermore we are the first to show that the applied flow generated larger peak curvatures in the caudal fin. Understanding the role of mechanical load and the molecular factors involved in the regulation of developmental processes could provide basic knowledge for new clinical applications for certain human diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer.