Zebrafish models of cardiovascular diseases and their applications in herbal medicine research

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Abstract

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has recently become a powerful animal model for cardiovascular research and drug discovery due to its ease of maintenance, genetic manipulability and ability for high-throughput screening. Recent advances in imaging techniques and generation of transgenic zebrafish have greatly facilitated in vivo analysis of cellular events of cardiovascular development and pathogenesis. More importantly, recent studies have demonstrated the functional similarity of drug metabolism systems between zebrafish and humans, highlighting the clinical relevance of employing zebrafish in identifying lead compounds in Chinese herbal medicine with potential beneficial cardiovascular effects. This paper seeks to summarise the scope of zebrafish models employed in cardiovascular studies and the application of these research models in Chinese herbal medicine to date.

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