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Zebrafish kidney development: Basic science to translational research

Authors

  • Lisa M. Swanhart,

    1. Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    • L.M.S. and C.C.C. contributed equally to this work.

  • Chiara Cianciolo Cosentino,

    1. Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    • L.M.S. and C.C.C. contributed equally to this work.

  • Cuong Q. Diep,

    1. Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Alan J. Davidson,

    1. Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • Mark de Caestecker,

    1. Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Neil A. Hukriede

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    2. Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Drug Discovery Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 5th Ave., 5061 BST3, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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Abstract

The zebrafish has become a significant model system for studying renal organogenesis and disease, as well as for the quest for new therapeutics, because of the structural and functional simplicity of the embryonic kidney. Inroads to the nature and disease states of kidney-related ciliopathies and acute kidney injury (AKI) have been advanced by zebrafish studies. This model organism has been instrumental in the analysis of mutant gene function for human disease with respect to ciliopathies. Additionally, in the AKI field, recent work in the zebrafish has identified a bona fide adult zebrafish renal progenitor (stem) cell that is required for neo-nephrogenesis, both during the normal lifespan and in response to renal injury. Taken together, these studies solidify the zebrafish as a successful model system for studying the broad spectrum of ciliopathies and AKI that affect millions of humans worldwide, and point to a very promising future of zebrafish drug discovery. The emphasis of this review will be on the role of the zebrafish as a model for human kidney-related ciliopathies and AKI, and how our understanding of these complex pathologies is being furthered by this tiny teleost. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 93:141–156, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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