Zebrafish research

The zebrafish is thé animal model of the basic research lab. Over the last decade, the zebrafish has taken a prominent place in the scientific research community, including the field of gastroenterology. Zebrafish quickly sparked the interest of researchers all over the world, who acknowledged the specific advantages of this small fish over the more traditional animal models. The main focus is on the innervation of the gastrointestinal tractus, with special attention for Hirschsprung's disease, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

Research topics

  • The effect of diet-induced obesity on gastro-intestinal inneravation and motility
  • The effect of gastro-intestinal inflammation on the zebrafish intestinal innervation
  • The extrinsic innervation of the zebrafish intestine
  • The zebrafish mutant lessen as a model for Hirschsprung's disease
  • Characterisation of the enteric nervous system in adult and embryonic zebrafish

Recent publications

  • Uyttebroek L, Shepherd IT, Vanden Berghe P, Hubens G, Timmermans JP, Van Nassauw L. The zebrafish mutant lessen: an experimental model for congenital enteric neuropathies. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Mar; 28(3):345-57. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12732. Pubmed

  • Uyttebroek L, Shepherd IT, Hubens G, Timmermans JP, van Nassauw L. Expression of neuropeptides and anoctamin 1 in the embryonic and adult zebrafish intestine, revealing neuronal subpopulations and ICC-like cells. Cell Tissue Res. 2013 Nov; 354(2):355-370. doi: 10.1007/s00441-0.13-1685-8. Pubmed

  • Uyttebroek L, Shepherd IT, Hubens G, Timmermans J-P, Van Nassauw L. The zebrafish mutant, lessen, is a suitable model to investigate Hirschsprung’s disease. Gastroenterology. 2012; 142 Suppl.1: pS5.

  • Uyttebroek L, Shepherd IT, Harrisson F, Hubens G, Blust R, Timmermans JP, van Nassauw L. Neurochemical coding of enteric neurons in adult and embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio). J Comp Neurol. 2010 Nov 1; 518(21):4419-4438. doi: 10.1002/cne.22464. Pubmed

Projects from master and bachelor students

  • De invloed van dieet-geïnduceerde obesitas op serotonine en de motiliteit in het gastrointestinaal stelsel van de zebravis. Laura Buyssens  - 2016-2017
  • The effect of diet induced obesity on the nitrergic enteric neurons and motility in zebrafish. Mathieu de Maagd  - 2016-2017
  • The influence of obesity on the serotonin-expression in the enteric nervous system of zebrafish. Jan De Smedt - 2015-2016
  • Diet-induced obesity and its effect on the enteric nervous system: a pilot study.  Emily van San - 2013-2014
  • Pseudocapillaria tomentosa infection in zebrafish and the effect on the enteric nervous system. Esther Bartholomeus - 2013-2014
  • The effect of gastrointestinal inflammation on the intestine of th zebrafish. Casper Pype - 2012-2013 
  • The extrinsic innervation of the zebrafish intestine: focus on spinal ganglia. Annick Papen - 2012-2013
  • The expression of the purinoceptor P2X7 in the enteric nervous system of the zebraifsh. Stéphanie Belet - 2010-2011
  • Validating the zebrafish (danio rerio) as an animal model for Hirschsprung's disease. Margo Dirckx - 2009-2011

Scientific posters


Secretariaat Anatomie van de Mens en Embryologie Campus Drie Eiken, Gebouw T
Universiteitsplein 1
2610 WILRIJK (Antwerpen)
Tel. +32 3 265 28 28