ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120702-28
Quantification of birefringence readily measures the level of muscle damage in zebrafish
Berger, J., Sztal, T., and Currie, P.D.
Date: 2012
Source: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications   423(4): 785-788 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Berger, Joachim, Currie, Peter D., Sztal, Tamar Esther
Keywords: muscle, zebrafish, muscular dystrophy, birefringence
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Birefringence*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Larva/ultrastructure
  • Membrane Proteins/genetics
  • Muscle Proteins/genetics
  • Muscle, Skeletal/pathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/pathology*
  • Mutation
  • Zebrafish*/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
PubMed: 22713473 Full text @ Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.

Muscular dystrophies are a group of genetic disorders that progressively weaken and degenerate muscle. Many zebrafish models for human muscular dystrophies have been generated and analysed, including dystrophin-deficient zebrafish mutants dmd that model Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Under polarised light the zebrafish muscle can be detected as a bright area in an otherwise dark background. This light effect, called birefringence, results from the diffraction of polarised light through the pseudo-crystalline array of the muscle sarcomeres. Muscle damage, as seen in zebrafish model for muscular dystrophies, can readily be detected by a reduction in the birefringence. Therefore, birefringence is a very sensitive indicator of overall muscle integrity within larval zebrafish. Unbiased documentation of the birefringence followed by densitometric measurement enables the quantification of the birefringence of zebrafish larvae. Thereby, the overall level of muscle integrity can be detected, allowing the identification and categorisation of zebrafish muscle mutants. In addition, we propose that the establish protocol can be used to analyse treatments aimed at ameliorating dystrophic zebrafish models.