A retrospective study of the prevalence and classification of intestinal neoplasia in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Zebrafish. 2013 Jun;10(2):228-36. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2012.0828. Epub 2013 Apr 1.


For over a decade, spontaneous intestinal neoplasia has been observed in zebrafish (Danio rerio) submitted to the ZIRC (Zebrafish International Resource Center) diagnostic service. In addition, zebrafish displayed preneoplastic intestinal changes including hyperplasia, dysplasia, and enteritis. A total of 195 zebrafish, representing 2% of the total fish submitted to the service, were diagnosed with these lesions. Neoplastic changes were classified either as adenocarcinoma or small cell carcinoma, with a few exceptions (carcinoma not otherwise specified, tubular adenoma, and tubulovillous adenoma). Tumor prevalence appeared similarly distributed between sexes and generally occurred in zebrafish greater than 1 year of age, although neoplastic changes were observed in fish 6 months of age. Eleven lines displayed these preneoplastic and neoplastic changes, including wild-types and mutants. Affected zebrafish originated from 18 facilities, but the majority of fish were from a single zebrafish research facility (hereafter referred to as the primary facility) that has submitted numerous samples to the ZIRC diagnostic service. Zebrafish from the primary facility submitted as normal sentinel fish demonstrate that these lesions are most often subclinical. Fish fed the diet from the primary facility and held at another location did not develop intestinal lesions, indicating that diet is not the etiologic agent.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / classification
  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Age Factors
  • Animal Feed / adverse effects
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Asymptomatic Infections / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / classification
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / etiology
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Female
  • Fish Diseases / classification
  • Fish Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Fish Diseases / etiology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / classification
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Zebrafish*