Author(s): Marcel J. M. Schaaf
Steroid hormones regulate a wide range of processes in our body, and their effects are mediated by steroid receptors. In addition to their physiological role, these receptors mediate the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are widely used targets for dugs involved in the treatment of numerous diseases, ranging from cancer to inflammatory disorders. Over the last fifteen years, the zebrafish has increasingly been used as an animal model in steroid receptor research. Orthologues of all human steroid receptor genes appear to be present in zebrafish. All zebrafish steroid receptors have been characterized in detail, and their expression patterns have been analyzed. Functional studies have been performed using morpholino knockdown of receptor expression and zebrafish lines carrying mutations in one of their steroid receptor genes. To investigate the activity of the receptors in vivo, specific zebrafish reporter lines have been developed, and transcriptomic studies have been carried out to identify biomarkers for steroid receptor action. In this review, an overview of research on steroid receptors in zebrafish is presented, and it is concluded that further exploitation of the possibilities of the zebrafish model system will contribute significantly to the advancement of steroid receptor research in the next decade.