March 6, 2009

Zebrafish offer glimpse of heart disease

Researchers in California are using young zebrafish to study the effects of excess cholesterol on arteries.

Young zebrafish are transparent, allowing scientists at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine to view the development of plaques in blood vessels, the university reported.

Dr. Yury I. Miller, associate professor of medicine, said the zebrafish model is a promising method for screening new heart drugs.

Because zebrafish are transparent for the first 30 days of life, we can see in the living fish that the blood vessels glow green, while the fat deposits in vascular plaques are red, he said.