The larval diving response (LDR): Validation of an automated, high-throughput, ecologically relevant measure of anxiety-related behavior in larval zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Barbara D. Fontana, Matthew O. Parker

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Abstract

Background: Zebrafish are used in anxiety research as the species’ naturalistic diving response to a new environment is a reliable and validated marker for anxiety-like behavior. One of the benefits of using zebrafish is the potential for high throughput drug screens in fish at the larval stage. However, at present, tests of anxiety in larvae and adults often measure different endpoints.

New method: Here, for the first time, we have adapted the novel tank diving response test for examining diving behavior in zebrafish larvae to assess anxiety-like behaviors at very early-stages (7 days-post-fertilization [dpf]).

Comparison with existing methods: Current methods to examine anxiety in larvae can show low reliability, and measure different endpoints as in adults, thus calling into question their translational relevance.

Results: We found that 7dpf zebrafish spent more time at the bottom of a small novel tank. We validated this as anxiety-like behaviors with diazepam reducing, and caffeine increasing the time spent in the bottom of the novel environment.

Conclusions: This new automated and high-throughput screening tool has the potential use for screening of anxiogenic and anxiolytic compounds, and for studies aiming to better understand anxiety-like behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109706
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Volume381
Early online date8 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Larval diving response
  • LDR
  • Novel tank
  • Zebrafish

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