Microscopic Analysis of Zebrafish Lenses with Cataracts
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become one of the model organisms of choice for cataract research because it has very similar lens proteins to other vertebrates and is very easy to work with. Cataracts are the opacification of the lens due to the aggregation of insoluble proteins and are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The protein aggregation is typically caused by proteins becoming insoluble due to various post-translational modifications. One type of post-translational modification is oxidation, which is caused by biological free radicals like hydrogen peroxide. Over the years, there have been many studies that examine the effects of hydrogen peroxide in the lens using model organisms like the zebrafish. In this research, hydrogen peroxide-induced cataracts in zebrafish were microscopically analyzed to determine the area of the lens the hydrogen peroxide most affected. The research developed critical procedures of sectioning the layers of the lens and staining protocols that could be used in further research.
* Indicates faculty mentor.