Oral intubation of adult zebrafish: A model for evaluating intestinal uptake of bioactive compounds

Jie Ji, Rosemary Thwaite, Nerea Roher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

7 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018, Journal of Visualized Experiments. All rights reserved. Most pathogens invade organisms through their mucosa. This is particularly true in fish as they are continuously exposed to a microbial-rich water environment. Developing effective methods for oral delivery of immunostimulants or vaccines, which activate the immune system against infectious diseases, is highly desirable. In devising prophylactic tools, good experimental models are needed to test their performance. Here, we show a method for oral intubation of adult zebrafish and a set of procedures to dissect and prepare the intestine for cytometry, confocal microscopy and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. With this protocol, we can precisely administer volumes up to 50 µL to fish weighing approximately 1 g simply and quickly, without harming the animals. This method allows us to explore the direct in vivo uptake of fluorescently labelled compounds by the intestinal mucosa and the immunomodulatory capacity of such biologics at the local site after intubation. By combining downstream methods such as flow cytometry, histology, qPCR and confocal microscopy of the intestinal tissue, we can understand how immunostimulants or vaccines are able to cross the intestinal mucosal barriers, pass through the lamina propria, and reach the muscle, exerting an effect on the intestinal mucosal immune system. The model could be used to test candidate oral prophylactics and delivery systems or the local effect of any orally administered bioactive compound.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58366
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2018


  • Confocal imaging
  • Cytometry
  • Immunology and infection
  • Intestine
  • Issue 139
  • Mucosal immunity
  • Oral intubation
  • qPCR
  • Zebrafish


Dive into the research topics of 'Oral intubation of adult zebrafish: A model for evaluating intestinal uptake of bioactive compounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this