Methods to Study Liver Disease Using Zebrafish Larvae

Elena Magnani, Anjana Ramdas Nair, Ian McBain, Patrice Delaney, Jaime Chu, Kirsten C. Sadler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Liver disease affects millions of people worldwide, and the high morbidity and mortality is attributed in part to the paucity of treatment options. In many cases, liver injury self-resolves due to the remarkable regenerative capacity of the liver, but in cases when regeneration cannot compensate for the injury, inflammation and fibrosis occur, creating a setting for the emergence of liver cancer. Whole animal models are crucial for deciphering the basic biological underpinnings of liver biology and pathology and, importantly, for developing and testing new treatments for liver disease before it progresses to a terminal state. The cellular components and functions of the zebrafish liver are highly similar to mammals, and zebrafish develop many diseases that are observed in humans, including toxicant-induced liver injury, fatty liver, fibrosis, and cancer. Therefore, the widespread use of zebrafish larvae for studying the mechanisms of these pathologies and for developing potential treatments necessitates the optimization of experimental approaches to assess liver disease in this model. Here, we describe protocols using staining methods, imaging, and gene expression analysis to assess liver injury, fibrosis, and preneoplastic changes in the liver of larval zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Cancer
  • Fibrosis
  • Liver
  • Senescence
  • Toxicology
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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