The use of in vivo zebrafish assays in drug toxicity screening

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2009 Apr;5(4):393-401. doi: 10.1517/17425250902882128.


Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that zebrafish may be a good model to predict toxicity of human drugs. As summarized in this review, several groups have recently conducted systematic evaluations of zebrafish toxicity end points using large numbers of pharmacologically relevant compounds. Assays of particular interest include those for cardiotoxicity, ototoxicity, seizure liability, developmental toxicity and gastrointestinal motility. Results suggest that zebrafish assays can attain an acceptable level of predictivity, ranging from "sufficient" (65 - 75% predictivity) to "good" (75 - 85% predictivity) based on guidelines established for novel in vitro tests by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Further validation will probably be required to definitely establish zebrafish as a standard model for toxicity testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / standards*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Toxicity Tests / methods
  • Toxicity Tests / standards
  • Zebrafish* / physiology