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Zebrafish. 2016 Jun;13(3):170-6. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2015.1157. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

In Vivo Determination of Body Composition in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) by Quantitative Magnetic Resonance.

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1 Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham, Alabama.
2 Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham, Alabama.
3 Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham, Alabama.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model research organism continues to expand its relevance and role in multiple research disciplines, with recent work directed toward models of metabolism, nutrition, and energetics. Multiple technologies exist to assess body composition in animal research models at various levels of detail (tissues/organs, body regions, and whole organism). The development and/or validation of body composition assessment tools can open new areas of research questions for a given organism. Using fish from a comparative nutrition study, quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR) assessment of whole body fat and fat-free mass (FFM) in live fish was performed. QMR measures from two cohorts (n = 26 and n = 27) were compared with chemical carcass analysis (CCA) of FM and FFM. QMR was significantly correlated with chemical carcass values (fat, p < 0.001; lean, p = 0.002), although QMR significantly overestimated fat mass (FM) (0.011 g; p < 0.0001) and underestimated FFM (-0.024 g; p < 0.0001) relative to CCA. In a separate cross-validation group of fish, prediction equations corrected carcass values for FM (p = 0.121) and FFM (p = 0.753). These results support the utilization of QMR-a nonlethal nondestructive method-for cross-sectional or longitudinal body composition assessment outcomes in zebrafish.

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