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Learning and memory in adult zebrafish: Insights from the last 10 years of research
By Alexis Buatois
September 26, 2023 at 11:00AM - salle de séminaires 5ème étage - LJP - Tour 32-33


Alexis Buatois (1)

  1. Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Neurochemistry and Psychiatry, University of Gothenburg, Su Sahlgrenska, 41345, Göteborg, Sweden

The zebrafish has become very popular over the last decade as a model for studying topics such as neuroscience1 and toxicology2. More recently, it has been proposed as an additional model for studying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's3,4, due to its high genetic and neurological homology with humans. One of the main symptoms of this disease is impaired learning and memory abilities. Although the zebrafish is a good choice in terms of genetics, brain structure and physiology, it would be essential to improve our understanding of the fundamental behavioural and neural mechanisms of learning and memory, especially in the adult stage when the brain is fully developed, in order to fully exploit its potential to study these disease mechanisms. Unfortunately, there are very few publications on learning and memory in adult zebrafish, and as with other behaviours, it's particularly difficult to reproduce or replicate the experiments that have been published, especially due to the novelty of the zebrafish as a model organism in this field of research5. Although this limitation is well known in the zebrafish research community, no studies have been carried out to understand the reason for this. In this seminar, I will first present the results of a systematic review of 116 studies published in the last 10 years that used a learning and memory experiment in adult zebrafish. These results will explain and highlight some of the reasons for these difficulties in replicability and reproducibility, but also show the direction that should be taken to improve our understanding of learning and memory in adult zebrafish, as well as the importance of including information on specific experimental parameters in publications. Finally, I will present a device that may allow us to overcome some of the limitations discussed above: a semi-automated home tank to study classical associative learning in adult zebrafish.

  1. Gerlai, R. (2022). Zebrafish (Danio rerio): A newcomer with great promise in behavioral neuroscience. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 104978.
  2. MacRae, C. A., & Peterson, R. T. (2023). Zebrafish as a mainstream model for in vivo systems pharmacology and toxicology. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology63, 43-64.
  3. Shenoy, A., Banerjee, M., Upadhya, A., Bagwe-Parab, S., & Kaur, G. (2022). The Brilliance of the Zebrafish Model: Perception on Behavior and Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience16, 861155.
  4. Chia, K., Klingseisen, A., Sieger, D., & Priller, J. (2022). Zebrafish as a model organism for neurodegenerative disease. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience15, 940484.
  5. Gerlai, R. (2019). Reproducibility and replicability in zebrafish behavioral neuroscience research. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior178, 30-38.