Zebrafish and GI

Why study GI disease in the zebrafish?

The zebrafish offers unique opportunities for discovery and translational research related to GI disease that complements other model systems. Rapid development of the larvae digestive system coupled with its highly conserved anatomy and physiology, and its unprecedented live imaging capabilities make it possible to study the evolution of digestive disease models in zebrafish in a way that is simply not feasible in using other model organisms.

As an example, the image below shows the accumulation of fluorescent lipid in the gallbladder of live 6 day old zebrafish larvae following ingestion of these compounds from their aqueous media. Gallbladder fluorescence provides a rapid readout of the larvae’s ability to swallow, absorb, transport and excrete the lipid tracer, all in a manner that is identical to how human’s process ingested lipids.

Understanding interstitial cell of Cajal development and maintenance, and their contribution to the regulation of motility patterns.

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 Image: Adam Rich Laboratory, The College at Brockport SUNY

Imaging shows up a zebrafish gut protein trap expression from GBT line 908.
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Image: Stephen C. Ekker, Mayo Clinic.

Zebrafish are used as a tool to focus on individualized medicine applications as they apply to digestive disease science.
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Image: Stephen C. Ekker, Mayo Clinic.

This image shows zebrafish digestive tract labelling following ingestion of NBD-Cholesterol (green) and BODIPY-tagged phosphatidylcholine (red) at 5 days post-fertilization
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Image: Stephen C. Ekker, Mayo Clinic.