Controlled Semi-Automated Lased-Induced Injuries for Studying Spinal Cord Regeneration in Zebrafish Larvae

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Zebrafish larvae possess a fully functional central nervous system (CNS) with a high regenerative capacity only a few days after fertilization. This makes this animal model very useful for studying spinal cord injury and regeneration. The standard protocol for inducing such lesions is to transect the dorsal part of the trunk manually. However, this technique requires extensive training and damages additional tissues. A protocol was developed for laser-induced lesions to circumvent these limitations, allowing for high reproducibility and completeness of spinal cord transection over many animals and between different sessions, even for an untrained operator. Furthermore, tissue damage is mainly limited to the spinal cord itself, reducing confounding effects from injuring different tissues, e.g., skin, muscle, and CNS. Moreover, hemi-lesions of the spinal cord are possible. Improved preservation of tissue integrity after laser injury facilitates further dissections needed for additional analyses, such as electrophysiology. Hence, this method offers precise control of the injury extent that is unachievable manually. This allows for new experimental paradigms in this powerful model in the future.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number177
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021

External IDs

PubMed 34866633