Using zebrafish to uncover the genetic and neural basis of aggression, a frequent comorbid symptom of psychiatric disorders

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Jan 1;276:171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.055. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Aggression is an important adaptive behavior that can be used to monopolize resources such as mates or food, acquire and defend territory and establish dominant hierarchies in social groups. It is also a symptom of several psychiatric disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. The frequent comorbidity of aggression and psychiatric diseases suggests that common genes and neural circuits may link these disorders. Research using animal models has the potential to uncover these genes and neural circuits despite the difficulty of fully modeling human behavioral disorders. In this review we propose that zebrafish may be a suitable model organism for aggression research with the potential to shed light upon the aggressive symptoms of human diseases.

Keywords: Aggression; Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Conduct disorder; Oppositional defiant disorder; Psychiatric disorder; Zebrafish behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / metabolism
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / genetics
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents