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Chemically-induced Rapid Sensitization in Restrained Larval Zebrafish (Danio rerio)


The larval form of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) holds significant promise as a model vertebrate system for understanding the neural mechanisms of behavior. This promise arises from two particularly attractive properties of zebrafish larva: their translucence, which permits robust optogenetic manipulations, and their possession of a relatively simple neural circuitry, which facilitates cellular analysis of behavior. In particular, past studies successfully demonstrated behavioral changes in fish as young as five days post fertilization (DPF) via transient receptor potential A1 (TRPA1) ion channel activation mediated by the chemical irritant allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil - MO). In the present study, we found that 10 �M total bath concentration of MO significantly increased the duration of tail activity responses in 5 and 6 DPF, agarose-restrained larval zebrafish compared to control treated animals. Further, we recapitulated this sensitizing effect in agarose-restrained older fish, 12 DPF, and to our knowledge, uniquely, in fish as young as 3 DPF. Together, these results indicate the immense promise that zebrafish hold as a neurobiologically tractable animal model for the study of learning and memory, especially non-associative memory.

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