I've had these 4 Zebra fish for about 4 years now in this tall vase w/a plant in it. You have to have at least 2 Zebra fish as they chase each other around the fish bowl and just don't do well or survive by themselves or w/other fish unless they have at least one other Zebra fish to chase. Don't ask ME why, that's just what they told me at the store where I bought them.
Anyway, mine are lucky and have had a nice cushy life. They have names and get plenty of attention which I'm not sure how much 3 of them appreciate, but one does always approach the side of the vase when I come over to talk to them, clean their vase or feed them.
Just read about some that aren't so lucky. They are part of a research program at the University of Oregon studying the gastrointestinal tract. It seems intestinal alkaline phosphatase (Iap) which is an enzyme thought to be involved in digestion rather acts as a detoxifying traffic cop, maintaining a friendly rapport between resident gut bacteria and cells. Without Iap, an endotoxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which resides in abundance in the gut, gains strength. It turns out that is not such a good thing!
There's a mutual give-and-take amongst the various resident bacteria and cells of our intestinal tract. Zebra fish bred without Iap quickly become highly sensitive to LPS toxicity as do wild-type Zebra fish when exposed to high levels of LPS. When Iap exists at sufficient levels the enzyme removes phosphates from LPS and turns it into a non-toxic molecule. LPS exposure in Zebra fish causes symptoms that resemble septic shock in mice and humans. University of Oregon researchers also identified at least two cytokine genes involved in inflammation in the Zebra fish. Cytokines are chemicals normally made by immune cells that boost the immune system to fight infectious pathogens and kill cancer cells.
So what's that got to do w/us and our Crohn's disease?
There is a lot of interest in connecting inflammatory bowel diseases with microbial changes. There is no good understanding as to whether inflammation is caused by a shift in the bacteria present or the disease state changes the balance. Researchers are not sure which may come first. And no one has looked at the normal variation of alkaline phosphatase in human intestines.