ADInstruments has announced that PowerLab systems are being used to establish the zebrafish as a model for assessing drug effects on cardiac function, using QT prolongation as a key indicator.
Researchers at Phylonix Pharmaceuticals are recording ECG signals from the small fish species, and using Chart’s ECG Analysis Module software to analyse the effects of pharmacological interventions.
Phylonix develops and markets in vivo zebrafish assays for therapeutic drug screening for research and preclinical studies. The zebrafish is cost-effective compared to larger animal models, and its embryo is already established as a powerful model for studying genetics and developmental biology.
Recently, articles validating adult zebrafish as a model for researching drug-induced QT prolongation have appeared in Circulation and AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Zebrafish and human heart electrophysiological properties are comparable, and ECG patterns, including the PR interval, QRS complex and QT interval, are similar.
According to Patricia McGrath, Phylonix President and CEO, “We decided to get into this area because we could see that the pharmaceutical industry was being mandated to do QT prolongation testing for all their drugs, so if we could get the model to catch on, we hoped we’d catch some customers!”
Phylonix researchers add drugs to the water in the zebrafish’s recording chamber. The ECG signal is recorded using needle electrodes with an ADInstruments’ Octal Bio Amp, PowerLab data acquisition unit and Chart software. Phylonix electrophysiologist Dr Demian Park has worked closely with ADInstruments staff to optimize their recordings.