Issues related to the use of fish models in toxicologic pathology: session introduction

Toxicol Pathol. Jan-Feb 2003;31 Suppl:49-52. doi: 10.1080/01926230390174922.


Ready or not, fish models are "here to stay." No longer are fish confined to a few specialized laboratories, nor are they exclusively the purview of zoologists or environmental toxicologists. In fact, the institution that does not house at least 1 fish facility is probably not at the forefront of cutting edge research. In toxicologic pathology, fish models are increasingly being used to provide high animal numbers at relatively low cost in carcinogenicity testing and developmental research, and to provide mechanistic information on fundamental cellular processes. In this session, we attempt to provide some perspective for the pathologist that is faced with planning or performing experiments or testing protocols using fish models, or with reading or interpreting fish studies. First, we cover how to approach fish studies from the contract laboratory standpoint, including sectioning, quality control, and GLP considerations. Then, we discuss specifics on the use of the rainbow trout, zebrafish, and Japanese medaka models. The rainbow trout has a rich history in carcinogenicity and mechanistic cancer research. Similarly, the 2 workhorses in the small fish category, zebrafish and medaka, have found their way into many laboratories doing developmental biology and genomics research as well as carcinogenicity testing. Some fascinating genetically altered fish models have been developed with both of these species. This manuscript provides a session overview of the use of small fish models in toxicologic pathology, along with some historical perspective on how these models have played a role in the current state of the science.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Fishes*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Pathology / methods
  • Toxicology / methods


  • Carcinogens