Cardiac Ca2+ signalling in zebrafish: Translation of findings to man

Chantal J M van Opbergen, Stephanie M van der Voorn, Marc A Vos, Teun P de Boer, Toon A B van Veen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sudden cardiac death is a leading cause of death worldwide, mainly caused by highly disturbed electrical activation patterns in the heart. Currently, murine models are the most popular model to study underlying molecular mechanisms of inherited or acquired cardiac electrical abnormalities, although the numerous electrophysiological discrepancies between mouse and human raise the question whether mice are the optimal model to study cardiac rhythm disorders. Recently it has been uncovered that the zebrafish cardiac electrophysiology seems surprisingly similar to the human heart, mainly because the zebrafish AP contains a clear plateau phase and ECG characteristics show alignment with the human ECG. Although, before using zebrafish as a model to study cardiac arrhythmogenesis, however, it is very important to gain a better insight into the electrophysiological characteristics of the zebrafish heart. In this review we outline the electrophysiological machinery of the zebrafish cardiomyocytes, with a special focus on the intracellular Ca2+ dynamics and excitation-contraction coupling. We debate the potential of zebrafish as a model to study human cardiovascular diseases and postulate steps to employ zebrafish into a more 'humanized' model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Biophysics & Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Ca2+ signalling
  • Cardiac electrophysiology
  • Zebrafish


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