Heart Function and Hemodynamics Analysis for Zebrafish Embryos
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The zebrafish has emerged to become a powerful vertebrate animal model for cardiovascular research in recent years. Its advantages include easy genetic manipulation, transparency, small size, low cost, and the ability to survive without active circulation at early stages of development. Sequencing the whole genome and identifying orthologue genes with human genome enabled to induce clinically relevant cardiovascular defects via genetic approaches. Heart function and disturbed hemodynamics need to be assessed in a reliable manner for these disease models in order to reveal mechanobiology of induced defects. This effort requires precise determination of blood flow patterns as well as hemodynamic stress (i.e. wall shear stress and pressure) levels within the developing heart. While traditional approach involves time-lapse brightfield microscopy to track cell and tissue movements, in more recent studies fast light sheet fluorescent microscopes are utilized for that purpose. Integration of more complicated techniques like particle image velocimetry and computational fluid dynamics modeling for hemodynamic analysis holds a great promise to the advancement of the zebrafish studies. Here, we discuss the latest developments in heart function and hemodynamic analysis for zebrafish embryos and conclude with our future perspective on dynamic analysis of zebrafish cardiovascular system.
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