Universiteit Leiden

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Zebrafish embryos and larvae as a complementary model for behavioural research

Promotor: Prof.dr. M.K. Richardson

F. Ahmad
01 december 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The main focus of the research that makes up this thesis was to translate rodent behavioural assays to larval zebrafish for better time and resource management in biomedical research, pharmaceutical research and development. The larval zebrafish is a useful model in toxicology and drug discovery. However, its predictivity is restricted by compound class. Light-dark cycle plays an important role in the normal development of the zebrafish embryo, and abnormal lighting regimes during rearing can result in malformations. The hyperactivity displayed by zebrafish larvae following the onset of sudden darkness is an intrinsic characteristic. Zebrafish larvae quickly habituate with repeated stimuli of onset of darkness with short interstimulus interval. Zebrafish larvae are able to discriminate colours, and they show a preference for orange and green, but aversion towards red, yellow, blue and black. The larvae also show freezing behaviour in the complex environment which is attenuated with diazepam.. Zebrafish larvae raised in an abnormal lighting regime changed some aspects of their colour preference, although orange and red remained as preferred and avoided colours respectively. In short, the zebrafish larvae is a useful complementary animal model in behavioural research amenable to high-throughput screening of compounds and drug discovery.