ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-020219-10
Zebrafish angiogenesis: A new model for drug screening
Serbedzija, G.N., Flynn, E., and Willett, C.E.
Angiogenesis is necessary for tumor growth, making inhibition of vessel formation an excellent target for cancer therapy. Current assays for angiogenesis, however, are too complex to be practical for drug screening. Here, we demonstrate that the zebrafish is a viable whole animal model for screening small molecules that affect blood vessel formation. Blood vessel patterning is highly characteristic in the developing zebrafish embryo and the subintestinal vessels (SIVs) can be stained and visualized microscopically as a primary screen for compounds that affect angiogenesis. Small molecules added directly to the fish culture media diffuse into the embryo and induce observable, dose-dependent effects. To evaluate the zebrafish as a model, we used two angiogenesis inhibitors, SU5416 and TNP470, both of which have been tested in mammalian systems. Both compounds caused a reduction in vessel formation when introduced to zebrafish embryos prior to the onset of angiogenesis. Short duration (1 h) exposure of SU5416 was sufficient to block new angiogenic and vasculogenic vessel formation. In contrast, TNP470 required continuous exposure to block SIV formation and had no apparent effect on vasculogenic vessel formation. To ascertain whether blood vessels in the zebrafish embryo respond to angiogenic compounds, we introduced human VEGF into embryos. Injection of VEGF caused an observable increase in SIV formation.
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