The effects of two stressors on working memory and cognitive flexibility in zebrafish (Danio rerio): the protective role of D1/D5 agonist on stress responses

Barbara D. Fontana, Madeleine Cleal, Alistair J. Gibbon, Sebastian D. McBride, Matthew O. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Acute stressors are recurrent in multiple species' lives and can facilitate or impair cognition. The use of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a translational species to understand the mechanisms by which stress induces different behavioral phenotypes has been widely studied. Two acute stressors are recognized when using this species: (1) conspecific alarm substance (CAS); and (2) net chasing. Here, we tested if CAS or net chasing would affect working memory and cognitive flexibility by testing performance in the FMP Y-maze after exposure to stress. We observed that CAS altered zebrafish behavioral phenotypes by increasing repetitive behavior; meanwhile, animals showed different patterns of repetitive behavior when exposed to net chasing, depending on the chasing direction. Because D1 receptors were previously studied as a potential mechanism underlying stress responses in different species, here, we pretreated fish with a D1/D5 agonist (SKF-38393) to assess whether this system plays a role in repetitive behavior in the FMP Y-maze. The pretreatment with D1/D5 agonist significantly decreased repetitive behavior in CAS exposed animals, and cortisol levels for both stressed groups, suggesting that the dopaminergic system plays an important role in zebrafish stress-related responses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108681
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropharmacology
Volume196
Early online date24 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • alarm pheromone
  • dopaminergic system
  • FMP Y-Maze
  • stereotypical behavior
  • stress-reactivity

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