Zebrafish models for translational neuroscience research: from tank to bedside

Trends Neurosci. 2014 May;37(5):264-78. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.02.011. Epub 2014 Apr 9.


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is emerging as a new important species for studying mechanisms of brain function and dysfunction. Focusing on selected central nervous system (CNS) disorders (brain cancer, epilepsy, and anxiety) and using them as examples, we discuss the value of zebrafish models in translational neuroscience. We further evaluate the contribution of zebrafish to neuroimaging, circuit level, and drug discovery research. Outlining the role of zebrafish in modeling a wide range of human brain disorders, we also summarize recent applications and existing challenges in this field. Finally, we emphasize the potential of zebrafish models in behavioral phenomics and high-throughput genetic/small molecule screening, which is critical for CNS drug discovery and identifying novel candidate genes.

Keywords: anxiety; biomarkers; brain disorders; cancer; epilepsy; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Diseases / therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences*
  • Translational Medical Research / methods*
  • Zebrafish