Zebrafish Regeneration Models

Zebrafish Regeneration Models

Regeneration is the restoration of organ mass, structure, and function after damage, which is indispensable for human health. Across the animal kingdom, the extent of regenerative capacity varies tremendously not only between species, but also between organs. Adult mammals can efficiently repair damage to the liver, the skin, and to epithelia of the kidney, lung and gut, but their ability to restore other organs is highly limited. By comparison, several non-mammalian vertebrates possess an astonishing capacity to regenerate complex structures even after a severe tissue loss, an ability that is most dramatically apparent in fin and limb regeneration in teleost fish and salamanders. In cases of limb disability, neuron degeneration, heart failure, etc., the limited regenerative capacity of these organs can cause severe outcomes, which cause the heavy social-economic burden. Therefore, the development of approaches to promote organ regeneration has attracted considerable scientific and clinical efforts.

The zebrafish is an ideal vertebrate model to study regeneration, taking advantage of its better regenerative capacity than mice and humans. Many of its organs, especially those that are difficult to regenerate in mammals, such as the heart, central nervous system (CNS), and limb, are able to regenerate. Therefore, it is an ideal model for the study of the cellular and molecular events of organogenesis and regeneration. Besides, zebrafish are also particularly suitable for small-molecule and drug-screening studies. By using injured zebrafish larvae, multiple compounds can be tested at the same time and used to identify those with a pro-regenerative effect and those that could damage regeneration.

Organ regeneration in the zebrafish.

Figure 1. Organ regeneration in the zebrafish. (Marques I J, et al. 2019)

Our Zebrafish Regeneration Models

Creative Biogene, a zebrafish preclinical contract research organization, offers various zebrafish regeneration models that be used to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying organ regeneration, and identify small molecules with the potential to enhance regeneration. To date, Creative Biogene has developed a variety of zebrafish regeneration models, including but not limited to:

  • Zebrafish fin regeneration model
  • Zebrafish heart regeneration model
  • Zebrafish CNS regeneration model
  • Zebrafish liver regeneration model

Several methods have been applied in zebrafish to impair or ablate the organs, followed by regeneration.

  • Surgical injuries: Surgical injuries include stabbing, resection or cryoinjury. Physical surgery is commonly applied to the organs that are easily accessed, such as the fin, brain and liver.
  • Chemically induced cell damage: Chemical injury is based on the toxicity of the compounds to the target organs. This method is mainly used in the liver and brain.
  • Genetic ablation: This method allows tissue- or cell type-specific death and can also provide temporal control of cell ablation.

Applicability of These Models

  • Small molecules and drug screening
  • Determination of pro or anti-repair effects of new compounds
  • Study of the inflammatory response
  • Study of tissue regeneration mechanisms

With extensive experience in zebrafish research, our scientists can help you choose the right model and experimental design to achieve your research and development goals.


  • Marques I J, et al. Model systems for regeneration: zebrafish. Development, 2019, 146(18): dev167692.
  • Gemberling M, et al. The zebrafish as a model for complex tissue regeneration. Trends in Genetics, 2013, 29(11): 611-620.
  • Shi W C, et al. Using zebrafish as the model organism to understand organ regeneration. Science China Life Sciences, 2015, 58(4): 343-351.
  • Sehring I M, Weidinger G. Recent advancements in understanding fin regeneration in zebrafish. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, 2020, 9(1): e367.

For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.

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