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Zebrafish. 2014 Jun;11(3):240-7. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2013.0955. Epub 2014 Apr 7.

Zebrafish brain lipid characterization and quantification by ¹H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.

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  • 11 Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University , Leiden, The Netherlands .


Lipids play an important role in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease. Zebrafish models for these diseases have been recently developed. The detailed brain lipid composition of the adult zebrafish is not known, and therefore, the representativeness of these models cannot be properly evaluated. In this study, we characterized the total lipid composition of healthy adult zebrafish using (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A close resemblance of the zebrafish brain composition is shown in comparison to the human brain. Moreover, several lipids involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases (i.e., cholesterol, phosphatidylcholine, docosahexaenoic acid, and further, polyunsaturated fatty acids) are detected and quantified. These lipids might represent useful biomarkers in future research toward human therapies. Matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry coupled with high-performance thin-layer chromatography was used for further characterization of zebrafish brain lipids. Our results show that the lipid composition of the zebrafish brain is rather similar to the human brain and thus confirms that zebrafish represents a good model for studying various brain diseases.

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