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Sight of conspecific images induces changes in neurochemistry in zebrafish.

Behavioural brain research (2013-01-30)
Muhammed Saif, Diptendu Chatterjee, Christine Buske, Robert Gerlai

Zebrafish are gaining popularity in behavioural brain research as this species combines practical simplicity with system complexity. The dopaminergic system has been thoroughly investigated using mammals. Dopamine plays important roles in motor function and reward. Zebrafish have dopamine receptors homologous to mammalian counterparts, and dopamine receptor antagonists as well as alcohol have been shown to exert significant effects on this species as measured using HPLC or behavioural methods. The sight of conspecifics was previously shown to be rewarding in zebrafish but whether this stimulus affects the dopaminergic system has not been studied. Here, we present animated images of zebrafish to the experimental zebrafish subject for varying lengths of time and quantify the amount of dopamine, DOPAC, serotonin and 5HIAA extracted from the subject's brain immediately after the stimulus presentation using HPLC with electrochemical detection. We find conspecific images to induce a robust behavioural response (attraction) in experimental zebrafish. Importantly, dopamine and DOPAC levels significantly increased in response to the presentation of conspecific images but not to scrambled images. Last, serotonin and 5HIAA levels did not significantly change in response to the conspecific images. We conclude that our findings, together with pervious studies, now conclusively demonstrate that the behavioural response induced by the appearance of conspecifics is mediated, at least partly, by the dopaminergic system in zebrafish.

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3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, 98%