Despite the growing importance of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as an experimental model in biomedical research, some aspect of physiological and related morphological age dependent changes in digestive system during larval development are still unknown. In this paper, a biochemical and morphological study of the digestive tract of zebrafish was undertaken to record the functional changes occurring in this species during its ontogenetic development, particularly from 24 hr to 47 days post fertilization (dpf). Endo- and exo-proteases, as well as α-amylase enzymes, were quantified in zebrafish larvae before first feeding (7 dpf). The most morphologically significant events during the ontogenesis of the gut occurred between 3 dpf (mouth opening) and 7 dpf (end of exocrine pancreas differentiation). The presence of a wide range of digestive enzymes, already active at earlier zebrafish larval stages, closely related with the omnivorous diet of this species. Increasing enzyme activities were found with increasing age, probably in relation with intestinal mucosa folding and consequent absorption surface increase. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B: 699–706, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
How to cite this article: Guerrera MC, De Pasquale F, Muglia U, Caruso G. 2015. Digestive enzymatic activity during ontogenetic development in zebrafish (Danio rerio). J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B:699–706.