Signaling pathways involved in tooth development: why use zebrafish in dental research?

  • Sabrina Schulze
  • Erika Calvano Küchler
  • Rafaela Scariot
  • Flares Baratto-Filho
  • Julia Carelli
  • Peter Proff
  • Christian Kirschneck
Palavras-chave: dental development; zebrafish; gene.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio, formerly named Brachydanio rerio) is an established model organism used in health research for a long time. In the past decades, some research groups have been using zebrafish model to understand the genes involved in tooth development. Objectives: To introduce zebrafish as an animal model for tooth development researchers and to highlight the advantages and limitations of this model. Literature review: Tooth development (also known as odontogenesis) is a complex process that relies on precise control of several critical regulatory pathways. Because of the complex development and morphogenesis of teeth, many human developmental dental anomalies arise due to disruptions during tooth development. The knowledge regarding signaling pathways and genes expressed during tooth development has mainly been discovered using mice (not modified and genetically modified) and other rodents. Zebrafish (Danio rerio, formerly named Brachydanio rerio) has also been used by some recent researchers. Results: Zebrafish as a model organism has several advantages, and for which a large and diverse set of genetic and molecular tools are already available. Zebrafish has an easy husbandry system and a relatively fast embryonic development. Conclusion: This review provides some insights for the use of zebrafish in understanding tooth development and developmental dental alterations for clinical and basic researchers alike.

Original Research Article