Zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a Viable Model to Study the Blood-Brain Barrier
As the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is essential for maintaining brain homeostasis and protecting the brain from exogenous substances, impermeability of the BBB is a major obstacle for drug delivery into the brain. Under pathological conditions, the integrity of the BBB is susceptible to disruption and can be broken down in severe brain diseases. Therefore, the understanding of intrinsic complexity as well as modulation of the BBB is critical to discover potential therapeutics for the treatment of brain diseases. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have emerged as a suitable animal model in studying pathology of diseases and screening leading compounds in the drug development and discovery because of their highly conserved nature in both genetics and cell biology as higher vertebrates. Importantly, due to their small body size, ease of care, rapid development, and transparency in the early embryo stage, zebrafish allow researchers to study the BBB and carry out high-throughput screening of potential therapeutics with cost-effectiveness. We thus aim to provide a technical overview of the procedures that can be used to analyze BBB integrity and functionality in zebrafish. Low permeability and strong tight junction-based BBB in zebrafish are very similar to those of higher vertebrates. Zebrafish could be an excellent experimental model organism for studying the development and maintenance of the BBB, defining disease pathway, and discovering specific and powerful therapies for the treatment of brain diseases.
Key wordsZebrafish Blood-brain barrier Permeability Efflux Drug delivery Microinjection
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