Using in vivo zebrafish models to understand the biochemical basis of neutrophilic respiratory disease

Biochem Soc Trans. 2009 Aug;37(Pt 4):830-7. doi: 10.1042/BST0370830.


Neutrophilic inflammation in the lung protects against infectious disease, and usually resolves spontaneously after removal of the inflammatory stimulus. However, much lung disease is caused by a failure of resolution of neutrophilic inflammation. Our laboratory is seeking an understanding of the biochemical basis of inflammation resolution, using the zebrafish model system. Zebrafish larvae are transparent, allowing visualization of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-labelled leucocytes during inflammation in vivo, and they can be readily manipulated by a range of forward and reverse genetic techniques. This combination of advantages makes zebrafish a powerful tool for the study of in vivo inflammatory processes. Using this model, we have visualized the process of inflammation resolution in vivo, and identified a role for apoptosis in this process. In addition, we have performed a forward genetic screen for mutants with defective resolution of inflammation, and reverse genetic experiments examining the influence of candidate genes on inflammation resolution. We have established a platform for screening for compounds with anti-inflammatory activity, which has yielded a number of interesting leads. Looking forward to succeed in the future, we are working at combining mutants, transgenes and pharmacological agents to dissect the biochemical basis of inflammation resolution, and to identify compounds that might be used to treat patients with respiratory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Respiration Disorders / immunology*
  • Respiration Disorders / pathology
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Zebrafish