A novel wireless ECG system for prolonged monitoring of multiple zebrafish for heart disease and drug screening studies

Tai Le, Jimmy Zhang, Anh H. Nguyen, Ramses Seferino Trigo Torres, Khuong Vo, Nikil Dutt, Juhyun Lee, Yonghe Ding, Xiaolei Xu, Michael P.H. Lau, Hung Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zebrafish and their mutant lines have been extensively used in cardiovascular studies. In the current study, the novel system, Zebra II, is presented for prolonged electrocardiogram (ECG) acquisition and analysis for multiple zebrafish within controllable working environments. The Zebra II is composed of a perfusion system, apparatuses, sensors, and an in-house electronic system. First, the Zebra II is validated in comparison with a benchmark system, namely iWORX, through various experiments. The validation displayed comparable results in terms of data quality and ECG changes in response to drug treatment. The effects of anesthetic drugs and temperature variation on zebrafish ECG were subsequently investigated in experiments that need real-time data assessment. The Zebra II's capability of continuous anesthetic administration enabled prolonged ECG acquisition up to 1 h compared to that of 5 min in existing systems. The novel, cloud-based, automated analysis with data obtained from four fish further provided a useful solution for combinatorial experiments and helped save significant time and effort. The system showed robust ECG acquisition and analytics for various applications including arrhythmia in sodium induced sinus arrest, temperature-induced heart rate variation, and drug-induced arrhythmia in Tg(SCN5A-D1275N) mutant and wildtype fish. The multiple channel acquisition also enabled the implementation of randomized controlled trials on zebrafish models. The developed ECG system holds promise and solves current drawbacks in order to greatly accelerate drug screening applications and other cardiovascular studies using zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113808
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Cardiac disease
  • Drug screening
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Prolonged anesthesia
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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