Zebrafish (Danio rerio) has been established as a model for dyslipidemia or atherosclerosis due to the remarkable similarities with humans in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. In contrast to mice, zebrafish show lipoprotein oxidation and dyslipidemia after feeding with a high cholesterol diet even without any genetic intervention; this makes the zebrafish an attractive model for atherosclerosis research.
In Spring 2014 we started to establish a platform to study atherosclerosis in zebrafish in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology.
The main intended use of the zebrafish platform is to investigate the early signs of atherosclerosis. The techniques involved in the study include the following:
- Breeding, maintenance, and exposure of zebrafish to a HCD or control diet
- Quantifying of lipid deposits in zebrafish larvae at different time points after Oil Red O staining
- Confocal imaging and conformation of lipid deposits
- Cholesterol and triglyceride measurements of zebrafish plasma samples
- Dissection of different zebrafish organs, including the heart, liver, aorta, eyes, brain, skin, kidney, and liver
- Quantitative RT-PCR analyses
- Use of microinjection technique for knock down/out or transgenesis of genes associated with cardiovascular disease