Effect of acute ethanol administration on zebrafish tail-beat motion

Tiziana Bartolini, Violet Mwaffo, Sachit Butail, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zebrafish is becoming a species of choice in neurobiological and behavioral studies of alcohol-related disorders. In these efforts, the activity of adult zebrafish is typically quantified using indirect activity measures that are either scored manually or identified automatically from the fish trajectory. The analysis of such activity measures has produced important insight into the effect of acute ethanol exposure on individual and social behavior of this vertebrate species. Here, we leverage a recently developed tracking algorithm that reconstructs fish body shape to investigate the effect of acute ethanol administration on zebrafish tail-beat motion in terms of amplitude and frequency. Our results demonstrate a significant effect of ethanol on the tail-beat amplitude as well as the tail-beat frequency, both of which were found to robustly decrease for high ethanol concentrations. Such a direct measurement of zebrafish motor functions is in agreement with evidence based on indirect activity measures, offering a complementary perspective in behavioral screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-725
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 30 2015


  • Ethanol
  • Locomotion
  • Tail-beat amplitude
  • Tail-beat frequency
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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