Zebrafish models in cardiac development and congenital heart birth defects
ABSTRACT The zebrafish has become an ideal vertebrate animal system for investigating cardiac development due to its genetic tractability, external fertilization, early optical clarity and ability to survive without a functional cardiovascular system during development. In particular, recent advances in imaging techniques and the creation of zebrafish transgenics now permit the in vivo analysis of the dynamic cellular events that transpire during cardiac morphogenesis. As a result, the combination of these salient features provides detailed insight as to how specific genes may influence cardiac development at the cellular level. In this review, we will highlight how the zebrafish has been utilized to elucidate not only the underlying mechanisms of cardiac development and human congenital heart diseases (CHDs), but also potential pathways that may modulate cardiac regeneration. Thus, we have organized this review based on the major categories of CHDs-structural heart, functional heart, and vascular/great vessel defects, and will conclude with how the zebrafish may be further used to contribute to our understanding of specific human CHDs in the future.
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ABSTRACT: The cardiac action potential (AP) and the consequent cytosolic Ca(2+) transient are key indicators of cardiac function. Natural developmental processes, as well as many drugs and pathologies change the waveform, propagation, or variability (between cells or over time) of these parameters. Here we apply a genetically encoded dual-function calcium and voltage reporter (CaViar) to study the development of the zebrafish heart in vivo between 1.5 and 4 days post fertilization (dpf). We developed a high-sensitivity spinning disk confocal microscope and associated software for simultaneous three-dimensional optical mapping of voltage and calcium. We produced a transgenic zebrafish line expressing CaViar under control of the heart-specific cmlc2 promoter, and applied ion channel blockers at a series of developmental stages to map the maturation of the action potential in vivo. Early in development, the AP initiated via a calcium current through L-type calcium channels. Between 90 and 102 h post fertilization (hpf), the ventricular AP switched to a sodium-driven upswing, while the atrial AP remained calcium driven. In the adult zebrafish heart, a sodium current drives the AP in both the atrium and ventricle. Simultaneous voltage and calcium imaging with genetically encoded reporters provides a new approach for monitoring cardiac development, and the effects of drugs on cardiac function.Frontiers in Physiology 09/2014; 5:344. DOI:10.3389/fphys.2014.00344
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ABSTRACT: Nonmuscle myosin II (NM II) is the name given to the multi-subunit protein product of three genes encoding different nonmuscle myosin heavy chains including NM II-A, NM II-B, and NM II-C. Blebbistatin is a small molecule that has been shown to be a relatively specific inhibitor of NM II. Blocking the function of NM II by blebbistatin induces zebrafish embryo cardia bifida at a dose-dependent manner. In situ hybridization analysis with ventricular marker ventricular myosin heavy chain (vmhc) and atrial marker atrial myosin heavy chain (amhc) showed each of the heart contained both distinct atria and ventricle. However, the cardia bifida embryos had highly variable distance between two separate ventricles. We also provided evidence that time window from 12 to 20 h post fertilization (hpf) is necessary and sufficient for cardia bifida formation caused by blebbistatin treatment. Expression of spinster homolog 2 (spns2) was decreased in blebbistatin-treated embryos, suggesting the cardia bifida phenotype caused by NM II inhibition was relevant to precardiac mesoderm migration defects. Through in situ hybridization analysis, we showed that foxa1 was expressed in endoderm of blebbistatin-treated embryos at 24-hpf stage, suggesting the endoderm formation is normal in cardia bifida embryos caused by blebbistatin treatment. In addition, we demonstrated that blebbistatin treatment resulted in morphology alteration of zebrafish cardiomyocytes in vivo and neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes in vitro.In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal 11/2014; 51(3). DOI:10.1007/s11626-014-9836-0 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in sarcomere genes have been found in many inheritable human diseases, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of sarcomere assembly shall facilitate understanding of the pathogenesis of sarcomere-based cardiac disease. Recently, biochemical and genomic studies have identified many new genes encoding proteins that localize to the sarcomere. However, their precise functions in sarcomere assembly and sarcomere-based cardiac disease are unknown. Here, we review zebrafish as an emerging vertebrate model for these studies. We summarize the techniques offered by this animal model to manipulate genes of interest, annotate gene expression, and describe the resulting phenotypes. We survey the sarcomere genes that have been investigated in zebrafish and discuss the potential of applying this in vivo model for larger-scale genetic studies. Anat Rec, 297:1681–1693, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.The Anatomical Record Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 09/2014; 297(9). DOI:10.1002/ar.22975 · 1.53 Impact Factor