A Robotics-Based Behavioral Paradigm to Measure Anxiety-Related Responses in Zebrafish

Valentina Cianca, Tiziana Bartolini, Maurizio Porfiri, Simone Macrì

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Zebrafish are gaining momentum as a laboratory animal species for the study of anxiety-related disorders in translational research, whereby they serve a fundamental complement to laboratory rodents. Several anxiety-related behavioral paradigms, which rest upon the presentation of live predatorial stimuli, may yield inconsistent results due to fatigue, habituation, or idiosyncratic responses exhibited by the stimulus itself. To overcome these limitations, we designed and manufactured a fully controllable robot inspired by a natural aquatic predator (Indian leaf fish, Nandus nandus) of zebrafish. We report that this robot elicits aversive antipredatorial reactions in a preference test and that data obtained therein correlate with data observed in traditional anxiety- and fear-related tests (light/dark preference and shelter-seeking). Finally, ethanol administration (0.25; 0.50; 1.00%) exerts anxiolytic effects, thus supporting the view that robotic stimuli can be used in the analysis of anxiety-related behaviors in zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere69661
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 29 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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