Zebrafish could prove key in cardiovascular research – Fishupdate.com

Zebrafish could prove key in cardiovascular research Published:  10 October, 2006

A NEW Zebrafish research platform, part of the European Vascular Genomics Network (EVGN), has been launched to aid in the advancement of cardiovascular research.

The founding philosophy of the platform is to support and enhance scientific and clinical research of cardiovascular diseases. At present, there are five ongoing collaborative projects involving EVGN partner laboratories from Italy, Germany, Finland, the U.K. and France.

According to European Comission, the zebrafish has proven to be an ideal model for studying vertebrate development, due to its fully developed immune system, and fully functional nervous and cardiovascular systems. It is used in many labs in lieu of higher vertebrates, such as rats or mice. One particularly advantageous trait, from a scientist’s point of view, is that the zebrafish embryo is transparent; giving researchers a window to the processes that take place during critical stages of early development.

” For this reason this system is particularly suitable to observe any experimental modification, especially those that involve the early steps of the vascular system’s development,” says lab director Marina Mione, an EVGN member and IFOM scientist.

Analysis of the zebrafish may prove to be particularly effective in studying the manipulation of the development of blood vessels, or angiogenesis, to produce certain desirable, medically beneficial results; increased blood flow to a damaged organ or restricted blood flow to a tumour in an attempt to stem its growth, for example.

“They allow real time screening of any introduced modification. We can monitor what happens, whether blood vessels are defective, follow their anomalous growth and correlate any visible alteration to the mutation we introduced,” Ms Mione said in a statement.

The collaborative research process around which the zebrafish platform is organised unfolds in a multi-step progression. First, a laboratory will gather data on in vitro processes, and then Ms Mione and her team can confirm the findings in real time, or via the zebrafish eggs.

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