The first use of high resolution ultrasound imaging to monitor tumours in zebrafish is published online in Nature Methods.
In recent years, the zebrafish has come to be recognized as a useful model for studying a number of human diseases, including cancer. The fish develop cancers in almost all tissue types, and are sensitive to several human carcinogens. The tumours that form are thought to be similar to those seen in humans. In early developmental stages the fish are transparent, making it possible to visualize internal tissues by microsocopy. However, in the opaque adult, tumours have to be examined by histology, which requires sectioning of the fish.
Zon and colleagues now show that ultrasound can be used to non-invasively identify and monitor tumours in adult zebrafish. This is the first high-resolution ultrasound imaging in fish - the method is routinely used to monitor tumours in mice and humans. The authors show that the fish were able to withstand repeated imaging over the course of several weeks. This gave authors the opportunity to monitor the effect of therapeutics on tumour growth and they could also perform ultrasound-guided needle aspiration of the tumours, which in the future could greatly facilitate the study of genetic changes that accumulate in cancers over time in a simple vertebrate model.
Leonard Zon (Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Methods press release.
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