Zebrafish as a useful model for immunological research with potential applications in aquaculture

The Zebrafish (Danio Rerio) is a Teleost fish, which offers several practical advantages concerning manipulation, maintenance and versatility as well as short life cycle, low cost and physiological similarity with most farmed species. Zebrafish have been used as model for several aquaculture-relevant infectious agents, since the cost of infections to aquaculture can be great, making failure of immunity a major risk for commercial fish farming. This have allowed scientist to understand pathogens biology as well as fish immune response against infection, and thus have helped to improve disease control in aquaculture. This review summarizes the recent reports and main knowledge concerning the cellular and molecular aspects of the immune response in zebrafish and its potential applications in the fish farming industry. Several research results in zebrafish and other teleosts reveal that mucosal tissues have a strong and well-structured immune response involving both innate and adaptive components. Together with the advantages of low maintenance cost, easy handling and genetic tools available, zebrafish comes up as a useful and reliable animal model for invivo study of fish immune response and mechanisms as well as fish-affecting infectious and inflammatory diseases which are a cause of concern for the aquaculture industry. Also, vaccines development, drugs screening and immunologically focused fish food assessment seem to be promising fields where zebrafish model can be used to generate positive impacts to the aquaculture practice.

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