Larval zebrafish (Danio rerio) have recently been suggested as a high-throughput experimental model of epilepsy-related pathogenetic states. Here we use adult zebrafish to study behavioral symptoms associated with drug-evoked seizures. Experimental epilepsy-like states were evoked in zebrafish by exposure for 20min to three chemoconvulsant drugs: caffeine (250mg/L; 1.3mM), pentylenetetrazole (1.5g/L; 11.0mM) and picrotoxin (100mg/L; 0.17mM). Fish behavior was analyzed using manual and video-tracking methods (Noldus Ethovision XT7). Compared to their respective controls, all three drug-treated groups showed robust seizure-like responses (hyperactivity bouts, spasms, circular and corkscrew swimming) accompanied by elevated whole-body cortisol levels (assessed by ELISA). In contrast, control fish did not display seizure-like behaviors and had significantly lower cortisol levels. Paralleling behavioral and endocrine phenotypes observed in clinical and rodent studies, our data implicates adult zebrafish as an emerging experimental model for epilepsy research.
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