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Calcium Imaging in the Zebrafish.

Chapter in book
Authors Petronella Kettunen
Published in Calcium Signaling. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. Islam M. (red.)
Pages 901-942
ISBN 978-3-030-12456-4
ISSN 0065-2598
Publisher Springer
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 901-942
Language en
Keywords Animals, Brain, diagnostic imaging, Calcium, metabolism, Models, Animal, Neurons, physiology, Zebrafish, physiology
Subject categories Cell Biology, Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has emerged as a widely used model system during the last four decades. The fact that the zebrafish larva is transparent enables sophisticated in vivo imaging, including calcium imaging of intracellular transients in many different tissues. While being a vertebrate, the reduced complexity of its nervous system and small size make it possible to follow large-scale activity in the whole brain. Its genome is sequenced and many genetic and molecular tools have been developed that simplify the study of gene function in health and disease. Since the mid 90's, the development and neuronal function of the embryonic, larval, and later, adult zebrafish have been studied using calcium imaging methods. This updated chapter is reviewing the advances in methods and research findings of zebrafish calcium imaging during the last decade. The choice of calcium indicator depends on the desired number of cells to study and cell accessibility. Synthetic calcium indicators, conjugated to dextrans and acetoxymethyl (AM) esters, are still used to label specific neuronal cell types in the hindbrain and the olfactory system. However, genetically encoded calcium indicators, such as aequorin and the GCaMP family of indicators, expressed in various tissues by the use of cell-specific promoters, are now the choice for most applications, including brain-wide imaging. Calcium imaging in the zebrafish has contributed greatly to our understanding of basic biological principles during development and adulthood, and the function of disease-related genes in a vertebrate system.

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