Published online Feb 20, 2016. doi: 10.5493/wjem.v6.i1.9
Peer-review started: July 29, 2015
First decision: September 29, 2015
Revised: October 20, 2015
Accepted: December 18, 2015
Article in press: December 21, 2015
Published online: February 20, 2016
The ingest of diets with high content of fats and carbohydrates, low or no physical exercise and a stressful routine are part of the everyday lifestyle of most people in the western world. These conditions are triggers for different diseases with complex interactions between the host genetics, the metabolism, the immune system and the microbiota, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), obesity and diabetes. The incidence of these disorders is growing worldwide; therefore, new strategies for its study are needed. Nowadays, the majority of researches are in use of murine models for understand the genetics, physiopathology and interaction between cells and signaling pathways to find therapeutic solutions to these diseases. The zebrafish, a little tropical water fish, shares 70% of our genes and conserves anatomic and physiological characteristics, as well as metabolical pathways, with mammals, and is rising as a new complementary model for the study of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Its high fecundity, fast development, transparency, versatility and low cost of maintenance makes the zebrafish an interesting option for new researches. In this review, we offer a discussion of the existing genetic and induced zebrafish models of two important Western diseases that have a strong inflammatory component, the IBD and the obesity.
Core tip: The western lifestyle with a high fat and carbohydrates diet, lack of physical activity and stress, is a trigger for different diseases with complex interactions between the host genetics, the metabolism, the immune system and the microbiota, as the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity and diabetes. The zebrafish has 70% homology with our genes, shares anatomic and physiological characteristics with mammals, and emerges as a new model for the study of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. In this review, we examine the existing genetic and induced zebrafish models of two important Western diseases with strong inflammatory component, IBD and obesity.