Research ArticleInflammation

A Zebrafish Compound Screen Reveals Modulation of Neutrophil Reverse Migration as an Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism

Science Translational Medicine  26 Feb 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 225, pp. 225ra29
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007672

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An Anti-Inflammatory Fish Story

Inflammation is one way the body tries to protect itself from injury and begin the healing process. However, as with any good thing, too much inflammation can be harmful, causing bystander injuries to healthy tissue. Hence, there is an active mechanism to resolve inflammation; failed resolution contributes to diseases of chronic inflammation such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Now, Robertson et al. use a zebrafish screening platform to identify new means of resolving inflammation.

The authors used a transgenic zebrafish model of sterile tissue injury to screen potential factors involved in inflammation resolution. They found that tanshinone IIA, which is derived from a Chinese medicinal herb, had proresolving activity by both inducing neutrophil apoptosis and promoting reverse migration of neutrophils. What’s more, these effects were not limited to their zebrafish model but held true in human neutrophils. Although efficacy remains to be tested in actual patients, these data support “fishing” for new drug candidates for resolving inflammation.