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Advances in Hematology
Volume 2012, Article ID 282318, 8 pages
Review Article

Histocompatibility and Hematopoietic Transplantation in the Zebrafish

1Section of Hematology-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, KCBD 5120, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2Stem Cell Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital Boston-Dana, Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 7 March 2012; Accepted 1 May 2012

Academic Editor: Jason Berman

Copyright © 2012 Jill L. O. de Jong and Leonard I. Zon. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The zebrafish has proven to be an excellent model for human disease, particularly hematopoietic diseases, since these fish make similar types of blood cells as humans and other mammals. The genetic program that regulates the development and differentiation of hematopoietic cells is highly conserved. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the source of all the blood cells needed by an organism during its lifetime. Identifying an HSC requires a functional assay, namely, a transplantation assay consisting of multilineage engraftment of a recipient and subsequent serial transplant recipients. In the past decade, several types of hematopoietic transplant assays have been developed in the zebrafish. An understanding of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in the zebrafish has lagged behind transplantation experiments, limiting the ability to perform unbiased competitive transplantation assays. This paper summarizes the different hematopoietic transplantation experiments performed in the zebrafish, both with and without immunologic matching, and discusses future directions for this powerful experimental model of human blood diseases.