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Neuropharmacology. 2018 Oct 16. pii: S0028-3908(18)30809-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.10.023. [Epub ahead of print]

Screening for drugs to reduce aggression in zebrafish.

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Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK. Electronic address:


Aggression is a common symptom of several human psychiatric disorders. However, the drugs available to treat aggression are non-specific and can have unwanted side effects. The zebrafish is an ideal model for behavioural pharmacology. They are small, aggression can be measured reliably, and drugs can be applied by immersion in the tank water. The ability to visualise and manipulate circuits in the intact brain represents an excellent opportunity to understand how chemical compounds modify the signalling pathways that control this behaviour. This review discusses protocols to measure zebrafish aggression, the neural circuits that control this behaviour and how pharmacological studies can inform us about environmental toxicology and the development of therapeutic drugs for humans.


Aggression; Behaviour; Drug screen; Neural circuit; Zebrafish

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