Zebrafish offer a nonclinical model for the high-throughput screening of drug compounds, including toxicity assessment, with resolution at the cellular level in living vertebrate organisms. These small, freshwater, tropical fish share genetic and biochemical similarity to humans, in addition to similar organ system development. Vertebrate disease models (e.g., Parkinson’s, epilepsy, wound repair) are available , as are 3-D image resolution and data analysis capabilities. Live-imaging options, unparalleled in other vertebrate organisms, are possible using the transparent larvae. Furthermore, live-cell microscopy can provide views of the inner complexity and workings at the cellular level. For purposes of disease modeling, researchers can create and screen genetic mutants in the zebrafish that are linked to human immune diseases. Neurological assessments using the live, transparent, zebrafish larvae allow visualization of the mechanisms of myelination. In conclusion, the zebrafish preclinical model owes much of its popularity to the transparent nature and relevant ease of imaging of vertebrate larvae. Optimization of data analyses for these varied indications is ongoing.
Drug Safety, Techniques, Toxicology