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Special Issue "Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020) | Viewed by 20014

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Yasuhito Shimada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Integrative Pharmacology, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu, Mie, Japan
Interests: zebrafish; pharmacology; obesity; cancer; natural product; chemical screening
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Herman P. Spaink
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Animal Sciences and Health, Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), Leiden University, 2333CC Leiden, The Netherlands
Interests: innate immunity; microbiome; infectious disease; immunometabolism; zebrafish systems; cell recognition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Danio rerio, a small teleost commonly known as zebrafish, has emerged as a powerful model organism for studying a wide variety of human diseases over the last few decades due to its small size, high fecundity, and genetic and genomic similarity to humans. Especially phenotype-based zebrafish testing, the so-called “zebrafish screening”, has been actively utilized to identify drug target molecules and therapeutic compounds in combination with various high-throughput technological innovations, such as high-content imager, large-scale behavior analysis, robotics, and bioinformatics. This Special Issue is intended to provide a forum to discuss zebrafish screening from broader perspectives, ranging from the creation of human diseases models, technologies harnessing these as a model organism, and their uses for drug discovery. Review articles by experts in the field would be particularly welcome.

Dr. Yasuhito Shimada
Prof. Herman Spaink
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • microbiome
  • Transcriptome
  • Xenograft
  • Bioinformatics
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Anti-Obesity Natural Products Tested in Juvenile Zebrafish Obesogenic Tests and Mouse 3T3-L1 Adipogenesis Assays
Molecules 2020, 25(24), 5840; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25245840 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1448
Abstract
(1) Background: The obesity epidemic has been drastically progressing in both children and adults worldwide. Pharmacotherapy is considered necessary for its treatment. However, many anti-obesity drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to their adverse effects. Instead, natural products (NPs) have been [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The obesity epidemic has been drastically progressing in both children and adults worldwide. Pharmacotherapy is considered necessary for its treatment. However, many anti-obesity drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to their adverse effects. Instead, natural products (NPs) have been studied as a source for drug discovery for obesity, with the goal of limiting the adverse effects. Zebrafish are ideal model animals for in vivo testing of anti-obesity NPs, and disease models of several types of obesity have been developed. However, the evidence for zebrafish as an anti-obesity drug screening model are still limited. (2) Methods: We performed anti-adipogenic testing using the juvenile zebrafish obesogenic test (ZOT) and mouse 3T3-L1 preadipocytes using the focused NP library containing 38 NPs and compared their results. (3) Results: Seven and eleven NPs reduced lipid accumulation in zebrafish visceral fat tissues and mouse adipocytes, respectively. Of these, five NPs suppressed lipid accumulation in both zebrafish and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. We confirmed that these five NPs (globin-digested peptides, green tea extract, red pepper extract, nobiletin, and Moringa leaf powder) exerted anti-obesity effects in diet-induced obese adult zebrafish. (4) Conclusions: ZOT using juvenile fish can be a high-throughput alternative to ZOT using adult zebrafish and can be applied for in vivo screening to discover novel therapeutics for visceral obesity and potentially also other disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Application of Humanized Zebrafish Model in the Suppression of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Induced Pathology by Tri-Herbal Medicine Coronil via Cytokine Modulation
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 5091; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25215091 - 02 Nov 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 7724
Abstract
Zebrafish has been a reliable model system for studying human viral pathologies. SARS-CoV-2 viral infection has become a global chaos, affecting millions of people. There is an urgent need to contain the pandemic and develop reliable therapies. We report the use of a [...] Read more.
Zebrafish has been a reliable model system for studying human viral pathologies. SARS-CoV-2 viral infection has become a global chaos, affecting millions of people. There is an urgent need to contain the pandemic and develop reliable therapies. We report the use of a humanized zebrafish model, xeno-transplanted with human lung epithelial cells, A549, for studying the protective effects of a tri-herbal medicine Coronil. At human relevant doses of 12 and 58 µg/kg, Coronil inhibited SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, induced humanized zebrafish mortality, and rescued from behavioral fever. Morphological and cellular abnormalities along with granulocyte and macrophage accumulation in the swim bladder were restored to normal. Skin hemorrhage, renal cell degeneration, and necrosis were also significantly attenuated by Coronil treatment. Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) analysis identified ursolic acid, betulinic acid, withanone, withaferine A, withanoside IV–V, cordifolioside A, magnoflorine, rosmarinic acid, and palmatine as phyto-metabolites present in Coronil. In A549 cells, Coronil attenuated the IL-1β induced IL-6 and TNF-α cytokine secretions, and decreased TNF-α induced NF-κB/AP-1 transcriptional activity. Taken together, we show the disease modifying immunomodulatory properties of Coronil, at human equivalent doses, in rescuing the pathological features induced by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, suggesting its potential use in SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Drug Administration Routes Impact the Metabolism of a Synthetic Cannabinoid in the Zebrafish Larvae Model
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4474; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194474 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1718
Abstract
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae have gained attention as a valid model to study in vivo drug metabolism and to predict human metabolism. The microinjection of compounds, oligonucleotides, or pathogens into zebrafish embryos at an early developmental stage is a well-established technique. [...] Read more.
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae have gained attention as a valid model to study in vivo drug metabolism and to predict human metabolism. The microinjection of compounds, oligonucleotides, or pathogens into zebrafish embryos at an early developmental stage is a well-established technique. Here, we investigated the metabolism of zebrafish larvae after microinjection of methyl 2-(1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]pyridine-3-carboxamido)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (7′N-5F-ADB) as a representative of recently introduced synthetic cannabinoids. Results were compared to human urine data and data from the in vitro HepaRG model and the metabolic pathway of 7′N-5F-ADB were reconstructed. Out of 27 metabolites detected in human urine samples, 19 and 15 metabolites were present in zebrafish larvae and HepaRG cells, respectively. The route of administration to zebrafish larvae had a major impact and we found a high number of metabolites when 7′N-5F-ADB was microinjected into the caudal vein, heart ventricle, or hindbrain. We further studied the spatial distribution of the parent compound and its metabolites by mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) of treated zebrafish larvae to demonstrate the discrepancy in metabolite profiles among larvae exposed through different administration routes. In conclusion, zebrafish larvae represent a superb model for studying drug metabolism, and when combined with MSI, the optimal administration route can be determined based on in vivo drug distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Evaluation of the Percutaneous Absorption of Drug Molecules in Zebrafish
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3974; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25173974 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
In recent decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a widely used vertebrate animal model for studying development and human diseases. However, studies on skin medication using zebrafish are rare. Here, we developed a novel protocol for percutaneous absorption of molecules via [...] Read more.
In recent decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a widely used vertebrate animal model for studying development and human diseases. However, studies on skin medication using zebrafish are rare. Here, we developed a novel protocol for percutaneous absorption of molecules via the zebrafish tail skin, by applying a liquid solution directly, or using a filter paper imbibed with a chemical solution (coating). Human skin is capable of absorbing felbinac and loxoprofen sodium hydrate (LSH), but not glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and terbinafine hydrochloride (TH). To evaluate the possibility and the quality of transdermal absorption in zebrafish, we transdermally administered these four drugs to zebrafish. Pharmacokinetics showed that felbinac was present in the blood of zebrafish subjected to all administration methods. Felbinac blood concentrations peaked at 2 h and disappeared 7 h after administration. GA was not detected following transdermal administrations, but was following exposure. LSH was not found in the circulatory system after transdermal administration, but TH was. A dose-response correlation was observed for felbinac blood concentration. These findings suggest that zebrafish are capable of absorbing drug molecules through their skin. However, the present data cannot demonstrate that zebrafish is a practical model to predict human skin absorption. Further systemic studies are needed to observe the correlations in percutaneous absorption between humans and zebrafish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Nicotinic Antagonist UFR2709 Inhibits Nicotine Reward and Decreases Anxiety in Zebrafish
Molecules 2020, 25(13), 2998; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25132998 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
Zebrafish is becoming a popular animal model in neuropharmacology and drug discovery, mainly due to its ease of handling and low costs involved in maintenance and experimental work. This animal displays a series of complex behaviours that makes it useful for assessing the [...] Read more.
Zebrafish is becoming a popular animal model in neuropharmacology and drug discovery, mainly due to its ease of handling and low costs involved in maintenance and experimental work. This animal displays a series of complex behaviours that makes it useful for assessing the effects of psychoactive drugs. Here, adult zebrafish were used for assessment of the anxiolytic and anti-addictive properties of UFR2709, a nicotinic receptor (nAChR) antagonist, using two behavioural paradigms to test for addiction, the novel tank diving test to assess anxiety and the conditioned place preference (CPP). Furthermore, the expression of nAChR subunits α4 and α7 was measured in the zebrafish brain. The results show that UFR2709 exhibits an anxiolytic effect on zebrafish and blocks the effect evoked by nicotine on CPP. Moreover, UFR2709 significantly decreased the expression of α4 nicotinic receptor subunit. This indicates that UFR2709 might be a useful drug for the treatment of nicotine addiction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Protective Effects of Fucoidan Isolated from Celluclast-Assisted Extract of Undaria pinnatifida Sporophylls against AAPH-Induced Oxidative Stress In Vitro and In Vivo Zebrafish Model
Molecules 2020, 25(10), 2361; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25102361 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1525
Abstract
Fucoidan is a fucose-enriched polysaccharide, obtained from brown algae, with demonstrated antioxidant properties. However, traditional extraction methods using water or chemical-based extraction methods have reduced yield and produced hazardous by-products. In this study, we isolated fucoidan at a high yield using enzyme-assisted extraction; [...] Read more.
Fucoidan is a fucose-enriched polysaccharide, obtained from brown algae, with demonstrated antioxidant properties. However, traditional extraction methods using water or chemical-based extraction methods have reduced yield and produced hazardous by-products. In this study, we isolated fucoidan at a high yield using enzyme-assisted extraction; the Celluclast enzyme assisted extract of Undaria pinnatifida sporophylls (FCUS). To examine the antioxidant properties of FCUS, oxidative stress was induced with 2,2′-azobis (2-methylpropionamidine) dihydrochloride (AAPH) in Vero cells and zebrafish model. FCUS was composed of 30.4% sulfate and 52.3% fucose. Pre-treatment of Vero cells with FCUS dose dependently inhibited AAPH-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Moreover, FCUS remarkably reduced cell death, ROS generation, and lipid peroxidation production in zebrafish larvae. Overall, these findings indicate that the sulfate-rich fucoidan of FCUS, obtained with an eco-friendly process, could be implemented as a beneficial antioxidant agent in the functional food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Lecithin-Based Dermal Drug Delivery for Anti-Pigmentation Maize Ceramide
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25071595 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1474
Abstract
Ceramides have several well-known biological properties, including anti-pigmentation and anti-melanogenesis, which make them applicable for use in skincare products in cosmetics. However, the efficacy of ceramides is still limited. Dermal or transdermal drug delivery systems can enhance the anti-pigmentation properties of ceramides, although [...] Read more.
Ceramides have several well-known biological properties, including anti-pigmentation and anti-melanogenesis, which make them applicable for use in skincare products in cosmetics. However, the efficacy of ceramides is still limited. Dermal or transdermal drug delivery systems can enhance the anti-pigmentation properties of ceramides, although there is currently no systemic evaluation method for the efficacy of these systems. Here we prepared several types of lecithin-based emulsion of maize-derived glucosylceramide, determining PC70-ceramide (phosphatidylcholine-base) to be the safest and most effective anti-pigmentation agent using zebrafish larvae. We also demonstrated the efficacy of PC70 as a drug delivery system by showing that PC70-Nile Red (red fluorescence) promoted Nile Red accumulation in the larval bodies. In addition, PC70-ceramide suppressed melanin in mouse B16 melanoma cells compared to ceramide alone. In conclusion, we developed a lecithin-based dermal delivery method for ceramide using zebrafish larvae with implications for human clinical use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Article
Cytotoxic Evaluation and Anti-Angiogenic Effects of Two Furano-Sesquiterpenoids from Commiphora myrrh Resin
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1318; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061318 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Commiphora myrrh resin (Myrrh) has been used in traditional Arabic medicine to treat various inflammatory diseases. Two furano-sesquiterpenoids, 2-methoxyfuranodiene (CM1) and 2-acetoxyfuranodiene (CM2), were isolated from the chloroform fraction of the ethanolic extract of Arabic Commiphora myrrh resin. The cytotoxicity of the compounds [...] Read more.
Commiphora myrrh resin (Myrrh) has been used in traditional Arabic medicine to treat various inflammatory diseases. Two furano-sesquiterpenoids, 2-methoxyfuranodiene (CM1) and 2-acetoxyfuranodiene (CM2), were isolated from the chloroform fraction of the ethanolic extract of Arabic Commiphora myrrh resin. The cytotoxicity of the compounds was evaluated using human liver carcinoma, breast cancer cells (HepG2 and MCF-7, respectively) and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cell lines. The development toxicity and anti-angiogenic activity of both compounds were also evaluated using zebrafish embryos. Cell survival assays demonstrated that both compounds were highly cytotoxic in HepG2 and MCF7 cells, with IC50 values of 3.6 and 4.4 µM, respectively. Both compounds induced apoptosis and caused cell cycle arrest in treated HepG2 cells, which was observed using flow cytometric analysis. The development toxicity in zebrafish embryos showed the chronic toxicity of both compounds. The toxicity was only seen when the embryos remained exposed to the compounds for more than three days. The compound CM2 showed a significant level of anti-angiogenic activity in transgenic zebrafish embryos at sublethal doses. Thus, we demonstrated the cytotoxic properties of both compounds, suggesting that the molecular mechanism of these compounds should be further assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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Review

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Review
Zebrafish-Based Screening Models for the Identification of Anti-Metastatic Drugs
Molecules 2020, 25(10), 2407; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25102407 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1380
Abstract
Metastasis, a leading contributor to the morbidity of cancer patients, occurs through a multi-step process: invasion, intravasation, extravasation, colonization, and metastatic tumor formation. Each process is not only promoted by cancer cells themselves but is also affected by their microenvironment. Given this complexity, [...] Read more.
Metastasis, a leading contributor to the morbidity of cancer patients, occurs through a multi-step process: invasion, intravasation, extravasation, colonization, and metastatic tumor formation. Each process is not only promoted by cancer cells themselves but is also affected by their microenvironment. Given this complexity, drug discovery for anti-metastatic drugs must consider the interaction between cancer cells and their microenvironments. The zebrafish is a suitable vertebrate animal model for in vivo high-throughput screening studies with physiological relevance to humans. This review covers the zebrafish model used to identify anti-metastatic drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish-Based Drug Screening)
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