angptl4 gene expression as a marker of adaptive homeostatic response to social isolation across the lifespan in zebrafish

Nancy Alnassar, Courtney Hillman, Barbara Dotto Fontana, Samuel C. Robson, William H.J. Norton, Matthew O. Parker

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Social isolation has detrimental health effects, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we investigated the impact of 2 weeks of isolation on behavior and gene expression in the central nervous system at different life stages of zebrafish. Results showed that socially deprived young adult zebrafish experienced increased anxiety, accompanied by changes in gene expression. Most gene expression patterns returned to normal within 24 hours of reintroduction to a social environment, except angptl4, which was upregulated after reintroduction, suggesting an adaptive mechanism. Similarly, aging zebrafish displayed heightened anxiety and increased central nervous system expression of angptl4 during isolation, but effects were reversed upon reintroduction to a social group. The findings imply that angptl4 plays a homeostatic role in response to social isolation, which varies across the lifespan. The study emphasizes the importance of social interactions for psychological well-being and highlights the negative consequences of isolation, especially in older individuals. Further research may unravel how social isolation affects angptl4 expression and its developmental and aging effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Early online date14 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Social isolation
  • Aging
  • Zebrafish
  • angptl4
  • Anxiety

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