A Fluorescence-Based Assay for Proteinuria Screening in Larval Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Zebrafish. 2015 Oct;12(5):372-6. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2015.1093. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


Analysis of genes compromising the glomerular filtration barrier in rodent models using transgenic or knockdown approaches is time- and resource-consuming and often leads to unsatisfactory results. Therefore, it would be beneficial to have a selection tool indicating that your gene of interest is in fact associated with proteinuria. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a rapid screening tool to study effects in glomerular filtration barrier integrity after genetic manipulation. We use either injection of high-molecular-weight dextrans or a transgenic fluorescent fish line [Tg(l-fabp:DBP:EGFP)] expressing a vitamin D-binding protein fused with eGFP for indirect detection of proteinuria. A loss of high-molecular-weight proteins from the circulation of the fish into the urine can be identified by monitoring fluorescence intensity in the zebrafish eye. Paired with an optimized analysis method, this assay provides an effective screening solution to detect filtration barrier damage with proteinuria before moving to a mammalian system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Dextrans / metabolism*
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Animal*
  • Proteinuria / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Dextrans
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins