Zebrafish shows a great potential to be used in early stages of discovery, thanks to its properties that include transparency, easiness to treat with compounds, high similarity with other vertebrates, cost-effectiveness and possibility to generate transgenic lines targeting specific organs and pathways. The zebrafish model has been extensively used in the field of toxicology and developmental biology.
A wide variety of compounds including drugs, fertilizers and natural pollutants are known to have a major impact on nephrogenesis and renal functionality. The unmet need for nephrotoxicity assessment to elucidate potential human health hazards, likely to arise from chemical exposure, has been the motive of this research. In this context, the zebrafish embryo model proposed herein aims to fill the gap between in vitro methods, with a lack of physiological context, and traditional in vivo models, entailing ethical concerns. This nephrotoxicity assay focused on two aspects: the study of the morphology (development) of the pronephric tubules and evaluation of kidney function.