The Use of Mature Zebrafish Danio rerio as a Model for Human Aging and Disease

Evan T. Keller, Jill M. Keller, and Gavin Gillespie

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have been extensively utilized for understanding mechanisms of development. These studies have led to a wealth of resources including genetic tools, informational databases, and husbandry methods. In spite of all these resources, zebrafish have been underutilized for exploring the pathophysiology of disease and the aging process. Zebrafish offer several advantages over mammalian models for these studies, including the ability to perform saturation mutagenesis and the capability to contain thousands of animals in a small space. In this review, we will discuss the use of mature zebrafish as an animal model. The challenges of developing and maintaining a colony of aging zebrafish will be addressed. Specific examples to support the use of mature zebrafish as an animal model will be provided, including the demonstration of clinical pathology and that age-associated changes in various phenotypes can be observed in aging zebrafish.

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