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Front Cell Neurosci. 2018 Aug 21;12:257. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00257. eCollection 2018.

An Assay for Systematically Quantifying the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex to Assess Vestibular Function in Zebrafish Larvae.

Sun P1,2,3, Zhang Y4, Zhao F5, Wu JP3,6, Pun SH1, Peng C3, Du M3, Vai MI1,2, Liu D4,5, Chen F3.

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State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI, University of Macau, Taipa, China.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau, Taipa, China.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China.
School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Department of Biology, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China.
SUSTech Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae are widely used to study otic functions because they possess all five typical vertebrate senses including hearing and balance. Powerful genetic tools and the transparent body of the embryo and larva also make zebrafish a unique vertebrate model to study otic development. Due to its small larval size and moisture requirement during experiments, accurately acquiring the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) of zebrafish larva is challenging. In this report, a new VOR testing device has been developed for quantifying linear VOR (LVOR) in zebrafish larva, evoked by the head motion about the earth horizontal axis. The system has a newly designed larva-shaped chamber, by which live fish can be steadily held without anesthesia, and the system is more compact and easier to use than its predecessors. To demonstrate the efficacy of the system, the LVORs in wild-type (WT), dlx3b and dlx4b morphant zebrafish larvae were measured and the results showed that LVOR amplitudes were consistent with the morphological changes of otoliths induced by morpholino oligonucleotides (MO). Our study represents an important advance to obtain VOR and predict the vestibular conditions in zebrafish.


gene knock down; otolith; vestibular function; vestibulo-ocular reflex; zebrafish larva

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