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!
Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University
Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy