Zebrafish in Parkinson's disease research

A crippling and widespread neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is under investigation at institutes all over the world, including the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. One of Erasmus’s fields of study is early-onset Parkinson’s and familial Parkinson’s. 

Early-onset Parkinson’s

Zhao et al. (2012) studied bradykinesia using a PARK15 (an atypical early-onset parkinsonism) zebrafish model and DanioVision. Zebrafish larvae (96 hpf) were loaded into a 96-well plate and run through a light-dark test in the observation chamber. Pronounced differences were found: morphants were less active or showed no locomotion at all, compared to the control group. A typical treatment of PD in humans, apomorphine, restored the level of activity completely in the morphants, while it had no effect on the control group, showing that the dopamine depletion typical of parkinsonism is a key factor leading to suppressed activity levels.  Read more about this research on our blog

Familial Parkinson’s gene

In a collaboration with the Instituto de Medicana Molecular in Lisboa, Portugal, this research group also reported on an interesting point mutation that has been linked to cases of familial PD (Lopes de Fonseca et al., 2013). Zebrafish also express this gene, and the study showed that it plays a crucial role in embryonic development. Partial knockdown of this gene resulted in atypical behavioral in 7 dpf larvae, as was measured in DanioVision using a light-dark-light paradigm (15-45-45 minutes). The wild type group behaved as expected: with a decrease in velocity during the dark phase and, later, the initial drop, then movement increase after the light was turned on again. However, the knockdown group showed a generally lower velocity and a relative increase in speed during the beginning of the dark phase. More about this study in this blog post.

More research

Want to see more studies that used DanioVision? Click here for a list of recent publications.