Zebrafish are an increasingly popular vertebrate model organism in which to study biological phenomena. It has been widely used, especially in developmental biology and neurobiology, and many aspects of its development and physiology are similar to those of mammals. The popularity of zebrafish relies on its relatively low cost, rapid development and ease of genetic manipulation. Moreover, the optical transparency of the developing fish together with novel imaging techniques enable the direct visualization of complex phenomena at the level of the entire organism. This potential is now also being increasingly appreciated by the lipid research community. In the present review we summarize basic information on the lipid composition and distribution in zebrafish tissues, including lipoprotein metabolism, intestinal lipid absorption, the yolk lipids and their mobilization, as well as lipids in the nervous system. We also discuss studies in which zebrafish have been employed for the visualization of whole-body lipid distribution and trafficking. Finally, recent advances in using zebrafish as a model for lipid-related diseases, including atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes and hepatic steatosis are highlighted. As the insights into zebrafish lipid metabolism increase, it is likely that zebrafish as a model organism will become an increasingly powerful tool in lipid research.

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