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Nat Protoc. 2011 Mar;6(3):338-45. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2010.201. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Conditioned place preference behavior in zebrafish.

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Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


This protocol describes conditioned place preference (CPP) in zebrafish following a single exposure to a substance. In the CPP paradigm, animals show a preference for an environment that has previously been associated with a substance (drug), thus indicating the positive-reinforcing qualities of that substance. The test tank consists of two visually distinct compartments separated by a central alley. The protocol involves three steps: the determination of initial preference, one conditioning session and the determination of final preference. This procedure is carried out in ∼2 d; other reported CPP protocols take up to 2 weeks. An increase in preference for the drug-associated compartment is observed after a single exposure. Establishment of this high-throughput protocol in zebrafish makes it possible to investigate the molecular and cellular basis of choice behavior, reward and associative learning. The protocol is also a tool for testing psychoactive compounds in the context of a vertebrate brain.

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