An overview towards zebrafish larvae as a model for ocular diseases

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Despite the obvious morphological differences in the visual system, zebrafish share a similar architecture and components of the same embryonic origin as humans. The zebrafish retina has the same layered structure and cell types with similar metabolic and phototransduction support as humans, and is functional 72 h after fertilization, allowing tests of visual function to be performed. The zebrafish genomic database supports genetic mapping studies as well as gene editing, both of which are useful in the ophthalmological field. It is possible to model ocular disorders in zebrafish, as well as inherited retinal diseases or congenital or acquired malformations. Several approaches allow the evaluation of local pathological processes derived from systemic disorders, such as chemical exposure to produce retinal hypoxia or glucose exposure to produce hyperglycemia, mimicking retinopathy of prematurity or diabetic retinopathy, respectively. The pathogenesis of ocular infections, autoimmune diseases, or aging can also be assessed in zebrafish larvae, and the preserved cellular and molecular immune mechanisms can be assessed. Finally, the zebrafish model for the study of the pathologies of the visual system complements certain deficiencies in experimental models of mammals since the regeneration of the zebrafish retina is a valuable tool for the study of degenerative processes and the discovery of new drugs and therapies.
Rosa JGS, Lopes-Ferreira M, Lima C. An overview towards zebrafish larvae as a model for ocular diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar; 24(6):5387. doi:10.3390/ijms24065387.
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