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F1000Res. 2017 Dec 14;6:2137. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12142.1. eCollection 2017.

How zebrafish research has helped in understanding thyroid diseases.

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Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Lab of Endocrine and Metabolic Research, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


Next-generation sequencing technologies have revolutionized the identification of disease-causing genes, accelerating the discovery of new mutations and new candidate genes for thyroid diseases. To face this flow of novel genetic information, it is important to have suitable animal models to study the mechanisms regulating thyroid development and thyroid hormone availability and activity. Zebrafish ( Danio rerio), with its rapid external embryonic development, has been extensively used in developmental biology. To date, almost all of the components of the zebrafish thyroid axis have been characterized and are structurally and functionally comparable with those of higher vertebrates. The availability of transgenic fluorescent zebrafish lines allows the real-time analysis of thyroid organogenesis and its alterations. Transient morpholino-knockdown is a solution to silence the expression of a gene of interest and promptly obtain insights on its contribution during the development of the zebrafish thyroid axis. The recently available tools for targeted stable gene knockout have further increased the value of zebrafish to the study of thyroid disease. All of the reported zebrafish models can also be used to screen small compounds and to test new drugs and may allow the establishment of experimental proof of concept to plan subsequent clinical trials.


thyroid; zebrafish

Conflict of interest statement

No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.

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