Atomoxetine reduces anticipatory responding in a 5-choice serial reaction time task for adult zebrafish

Matthew O. Parker, Alistair J. Brock, Ari Sudwarts, Caroline H. Brennan

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Deficits in impulse control are related to a number of psychiatric diagnoses, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, addiction, and pathological gambling. Despite increases in our knowledge about the underlying neurochemical and neuroanatomical correlates, understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms is less well established. Understanding these mechanisms is essential in order to move towards individualized treatment programs and increase efficacy of interventions. Zebrafish are a very useful vertebrate model for exploring molecular processes underlying disease owing to their small size and genetic tractability. Their utility in terms of behavioral neuroscience, however, hinges on the validation and publication of reliable assays with adequate translational relevance. Here, we report an initial pharmacological validation of a fully automated zebrafish version of the commonly used five-choice serial reaction time task using a variable interval pre-stimulus interval. We found that atomoxetine reduced anticipatory responses (0.6 mg/kg), whereas a high-dose (4 mg/kg) methylphenidate increased anticipatory responses and the number of trials completed in a session. On the basis of these results, we argue that similar neurochemical processes in fish as in mammals may control impulsivity, as operationally defined by anticipatory responses on a continuous performance task such as this, making zebrafish potentially a good model for exploring the molecular basis of impulse control disorders and for first-round drug screening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2671-2679
Issue number13
Early online date31 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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