The research team discovered significant parallels between inflammation in the tiny fish larvae and in humans. Thus, zebrafish can be used to screen anti-inflammatory drugs.
Published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the reaearch focuses on the behavior of a certain cell that's key in the inflammatory response: neutrophil. Scientists are able to use zebrafish larvae to visualize neutrophils during inflammation, making drugscreens possible. By showing that anti-inflammatory drugs work in zebrafish, the researchers have established that the fish may be used to identify future medications for humans.
Dr. Stephen Renshaw, a lead researcher in the study, says, ‘I'm very excited by the potential of zebrafish to find new drugs for the human inflammatory diseases as we are always looking for better ways to treat the large numbers of patients with respiratory diseases…This success is only the first of a range of zebrafish drug screens, which I am hopeful will provide real benefits to health in the coming years.’