Transparent adult zebrafish as a tool for in vivo transplantation analysis

Cell Stem Cell. 2008 Feb 7;2(2):183-9. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2007.11.002.


The zebrafish is a useful model for understanding normal and cancer stem cells, but analysis has been limited to embryogenesis due to the opacity of the adult fish. To address this, we have created a transparent adult zebrafish in which we transplanted either hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells or tumor cells. In a hematopoiesis radiation recovery assay, transplantation of GFP-labeled marrow cells allowed for striking in vivo visual assessment of engraftment from 2 hr-5 weeks posttransplant. Using FACS analysis, both transparent and wild-type fish had equal engraftment, but this could only be visualized in the transparent recipient. In a tumor engraftment model, transplantation of RAS-melanoma cells allowed for visualization of tumor engraftment, proliferation, and distant metastases in as little as 5 days, which is not seen in wild-type recipients until 3 to 4 weeks. This transparent adult zebrafish serves as the ideal combination of both sensitivity and resolution for in vivo stem cell analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albinism / genetics
  • Animals
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Light
  • Models, Animal*
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Pigmentation / genetics*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Zebrafish*