Zebrafish: model for the study of inflammation and the innate immune response to infectious diseases

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;946:253-75. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0106-3_15.


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has been extensively used in biomedical research as a model to study vertebrate development and hematopoiesis and recently, it has been adopted into varied fields including immunology. After fertilization, larvae survive with only the innate immune responses because adaptive immune system is morphologically and functionally mature only after 4-6 weeks postfertilization. This temporal separation provides a suitable system to study the vertebrate innate immune response in vivo, independently from the adaptive immune response. The transparency of early life stages allows a useful real-time visualization. Adult zebrafish which have complete (innate and adaptative) immune systems offer also advantages over other vertebrate infection models: small size, relatively rapid life cycle, ease of breeding, and a growing list of molecular tools for the study of infectious diseases. In this review, we have tried to give some examples of the potential of zebrafish as a valuable model in innate immunity and inflammation studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Zebrafish / immunology*