Zebrafish is a common research model to study different physiological and genetic effects in humans. In the current research study, nutritional and environmental factors were altered to potentially create a sickle cell anemia model in zebrafish. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that affect hematopoiesis in order to better understand development and treatment of sickle cell anemia. The use of the zebrafish model for this project enabled the application of treatments by submersion. For each treatment ∼100 fertilized zebrafish eggs were placed in tank water containing the treatment. In addition to the control group, five supplements were included as treatments: iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, viper venom and the chelating agent deferoxamine mesylate. After 24 hours of development, 10 embryos from each treatment group were collected for gene expression analysis. After hatching, the zebrafish were raised for about 6 weeks to prepare blood smears to analyze the diameters and morphology of blood cells. Statistical analyses show there was a significant difference in the diameter of the folic acid and deferoxamine mesylate groups without significant alteration of growth of the fish. These data indicate the development of an anemia model in zebrafish is possible, and may provide evidence for the possibility of use of zebrafish for the development of treatment for anemia.
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Vol. 90 • No. 1