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Methods Cell Biol. 2016;134:97-138. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2015.12.003. Epub 2016 Feb 27.

Studying the peripheral sympathetic nervous system and neuroblastoma in zebrafish.

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University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.


The zebrafish serves as an excellent model to study vertebrate development and disease. Optically clear embryos, combined with tissue-specific fluorescent reporters, permit direct visualization and measurement of peripheral nervous system formation in real time. Additionally, the model is amenable to rapid cellular, molecular, and genetic approaches to determine how developmental mechanisms contribute to disease states, such as cancer. In this chapter, we describe the development of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system (PSNS) in general, and our current understanding of genetic pathways important in zebrafish PSNS development specifically. We also illustrate how zebrafish genetics is used to identify new mechanisms controlling PSNS development and methods for interrogating the potential role of PSNS developmental pathways in neuroblastoma pathogenesis in vivo using the zebrafish MYCN-driven neuroblastoma model.


Adrenal; Autonomic; Chromaffin; Neural crest; Neuroblastoma; Phox2b; Sympathetic; Tyrosine hydroxylase; Zebrafish

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