Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jessica Larsen

Committee Member

Dr. Alexander-Bryant

Committee Member

Dr. Brian Booth


The use of adult zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model for human neurodegenerative diseases has proven valuable in pharmaceutical development and genetic disease research due to their high genetic homology to humans, cost-effective husbandry, and quick life cycle breeding times. Despite their promise, most zebrafish research has focused on embryonic stage organisms, primarily due to the ease of direct handling protocols and rapid progression through developmental stages. Recognizing the limitations of early-stage organisms in modeling adult diseases, recent efforts have shifted the applicability of zebrafish models, particularly for Parkinson's Disease, due to the nature of the disease impacting patients 55 years of age and older. Notably, the prodrug 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) has emerged as a tool that closely mimics the symptomology associated with Parkinson's Disease in adult zebrafish. This approach holds promise for advancing Parkinson's Disease research in a more relevant context. The etiology of Parkinson’s Disease shows patients experience a loss of dopaminergic neurons and reduced dopamine (DA) levels in the brain, leading to cognitive and physical decline. Zebrafish have gained popularity as a disease model for PD due to the ease of modeling and high homology in catecholamine production. This paper presents a comparative analysis and research schematic of Parkinson's Disease presentation in adult zebrafish compared to humans, aiming to create a more relevant disease model. While the mature zebrafish injected with MPTP exhibited movement and cognitive decline similar to human disease, gene profiling only recapitulated certain genes associated with PD.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024