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ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-140213-20
Impact of a combined high cholesterol diet and high glucose environment on vasculature
Wang, Z., Mao, Y., Cui, T., Tang, D., and Wang, X.L.
Date: 2013
Source: PLoS One   8(12): e81485 (Journal)
Registered Authors:
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cholesterol/adverse effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus/chemically induced*
  • Diabetes Mellitus/drug therapy*
  • Glucose/adverse effects*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents/therapeutic use
  • Metformin/therapeutic use
  • Thiazolidinediones/therapeutic use
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 24349075 Full text @ PLoS One


Vascular complications are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with diabetes. However, proper animal models of diabetic vasculopathy that recapitulate the accelerated progression of vascular lesions in human are unavailable. In the present study, we developed a zebrafish model of diabetic vascular complications and the methodology for quantifying vascular lesion formation real-time in the living diabetic zebrafish.

Methods and Results

Wild type zebrafish (AB) and transgenic zebrafish lines of fli1:EGFP, lyz:EGFP, gata1:dsRed, double transgenic zebrafish of gata1:dsRed/fli1:EGFP were exposed to high cholesterol diet and 3% glucose (HCD-HG) for 10 days. The zebrafish model with HCD-HG treatment was characterized by significantly increased tissue levels of insulin, glucagon, glucose, total triglyceride and cholesterol. Confocal microscopic analysis further revealed that the diabetic larvae developed clearly thickened endothelial layers, distinct perivascular lipid depositions, substantial accumulations of inflammatory cells in the injured vasculature, and a decreased velocity of blood flow. Moreover, the vascular abnormalities were improved by the treatment of pioglitazone and metformin.


A combination of high cholesterol diet and high glucose exposure induces a rapid onset of vascular complications in zebrafish similar to the early atherosclerotic vascular injuries in mammalian diabetic models, suggesting that zebrafish may be used as a novel animal model for diabetic vasculopathy.