A classification system for zebrafish adipose tissues

A classification system for zebrafish adipose tissues

Zebrafish offer a valuable model system for in vivo imaging of adipose tissue dynamics. In particular, adipose tissue can be accurately quantified in live zebrafish using fluorescent lipophilic dyes - a technique applicable to large scale chemical and genetic screens to identify modifiers of adiposity and associated disease.  Although, this methodology offers considerable promise, the comprehensive identification and classification of zebrafish ATs has not been performed.

In this project, we utilize fluorescent lipophilic dyes and in vivo imaging to systematically identify, classify and quantify the zebrafish AT pool. We identify 34 regionally distinct zebrafish ATs, including 5 visceral ATs (VATs) and 22 subcutaneous ATs (SATs) in anatomically homologous locations to mammalian adipose tissues. For each of these ATs we describe detailed morphological characteristics to aid their identification in future studies. Further, we quantify the areas for each AT, and construct regression models to allow prediction of expected AT size and variation across a range of developmental stages. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of this resource for identifying effects of strain variation and high-fat diet on AT growth. Together, this project provides foundational information on the identity, dynamics, and expected quantities of zebrafish ATs for use as a reference for future studies.

Work from this project was published in Disease Models & Mechanisms