Anxiety-related behavioral responses of pentylenetetrazole-treated zebrafish larvae to light-dark transitions

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Abstract

Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ), γ-aminobutyrate (GABA) antagonist, is a convulsant drug, known to induce anxiety and seizures in zebrafish. Changes in the mobility of zebrafish under light-dark transitions reflect anxiety level, serving as a useful behavioral readout. The effects of PTZ treatment have yet to be assayed in this manner. Zebrafish larvae (AB strain) at both 5 dpf (days post-fertilization) and 7 dpf were treated with different concentrations of PTZ. General locomotor activity and thigmotaxis were analyzed under continuous illumination (normal conditions) or alternating light-dark cycles (stressful conditions). Zebrafish larvae of 5 dpf and 7 dpf exhibited different sensitivities to PTZ. Anxiety level, measured in terms of response to illumination transitions under the influence of PTZ, demonstrated contrasting tendencies. Dark-light transitions dramatically increased the locomotor activity of zebrafish larvae receiving 8 mM PTZ which was indicative of anxiety. This study suggests that PTZ increases the susceptibility by activating the neuron, which perhaps makes light change easier to influence the anxiety level of larvae. We provide useful evidence for putative anti-anxiety drug screening.

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