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!
Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy