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Zebrafish in Development and Disease

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Front. Cell Dev. Biol. | doi: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00091

Zebrafish as a Model for Obesity and Diabetes

  • 1Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, United States
  • 2Graduate School of Regional Innovation Studies,, Mie University, Japan
  • 3Center for Reproductive Biology, Washington State University, United States

Obesity and diabetes are epidemics rising worldwide. The prevalence rates of diabetes are increasing in parallel with the rates of obesity and the strong connection between these two diseases and has been coined as “diabesity”. The health risks of overweight or obesity include Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), coronary heart disease and cancer of numerous organs. Both obesity and diabetes are complex diseases that involve the interaction of genetics and environmental factors. The underlying pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes are not well understood and further research is needed for pharmacological and surgical management. Consequently, the use of animal models of obesity and/or diabetes is important for both improving the understanding of these diseases and identify and develop effective treatments. Zebrafish is an attractive model system for studying metabolic diseases because of the functional conservation in lipid metabolism, adipose biology, pancreas structure, and glucose homeostasis. It is also suited for identification of novel targets associated with the risk and treatment of obesity and diabetes in humans. In this review, we highlight studies using zebrafish to model metabolic diseases, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of studying pathologies associated with obesity and diabetes in zebrafish.

Keywords: Zebrafish, Obesity, diabetes, transgenic models, Disease Models, Animal

Received: 02 Apr 2018; Accepted: 25 Jul 2018.

Edited by:

Ryan M. Anderson, Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis, United States

Reviewed by:

Marta Letizia Hribal, Università degli studi Magna Græcia di Catanzaro, Italy
Anne-Francoise Burnol, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France  

Copyright: © 2018 Zang, Maddison and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Wenbiao Chen, Vanderbilt University, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Nashville, 37232, TN, United States,