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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Mar;21(3):304-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01234.x. Epub 2008 Dec 31.

Analysis of gastrointestinal physiology using a novel intestinal transit assay in zebrafish.

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  • 1Developmental and Molecular Pathways, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Gastrointestinal function depends upon coordinated contractions to mix and propel food through the gut. Deregulation of these contractions leads to alterations in the speed of material transit through the gut, with potentially significant consequences. We have developed a method for visualizing intestinal transit, the physiological result of peristaltic contractions, in larval zebrafish. This method allows direct, non-invasive observation of luminal content as it traverses the gut. Using this method, we characterized gastrointestinal transit in zebrafish larvae at 7 days postfertilization. In addition, we used this transit assay to assess the physiological consequences of reduced or absent enteric neurones on intestinal transit in larval zebrafish. This may facilitate the use of the zebrafish for investigating the effect of compounds and candidate genes on gastrointestinal motility.

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