Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have shown that zebrafish could be used to study the underlying causes of psychiatric disorders.
The study, published online in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, found zebrafish can modify their behaviour in response to varying situations.
Dr Caroline Brennan, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences who led the study, said: "Zebrafish are becoming one of the most useful animal models for studying the developmental genetic mechanisms underlying many psychiatric disorders; they breed prolifically and we have many new and exciting techniques that allow us to explore their genetic make-up in the laboratory."
The scientists took 15 zebrafish through a series of experiments involving colour choice to test aspects of behaviour associated with psychiatric disease.
The fish were given a choice between two colours - they learnt to choose one of the colours which gave them food. The colours were then reversed and they learnt to change their colour choice.
The scientists then introduced a new set of colours and started the process again. The fish were able to change their behaviour accordingly, learning the new set of colours much faster than the original set, a process psychologists call 'behavioural flexibility'.
The research challenges previous studies which suggested fish were unable to elicit behavioural flexibility, unlike mammals and humans, because they didn't have a frontal cortex.
"Problems with behavioural flexibility, and general deficits in attention, are key symptoms displayed by people suffering a variety of psychological disorders related to impulse control, such as drug addiction, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some personality disorders," Dr Brennan said.
"The results of our study suggest that there may be a role for zebrafish in the future as a useful comparative model to study the cause and prognosis of some of these disorders."
Zebrafish are often used by neuroscientists to explore mechanisms controlling behaviour and in the search for new compounds to treat behavioural disease such as addiction, attention deficit disorders or autism. This study adds further weight to the argument for using zebrafish in the study of these disorders and conditions.
Bridget Dempsey | EurekAlert!
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences