Zebrafish neurobehavioral phenomics for aquatic neuropharmacology and toxicology research

Aquat Toxicol. 2016 Jan;170:297-309. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.08.007. Epub 2015 Aug 24.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are rapidly emerging as an important model organism for aquatic neuropharmacology and toxicology research. The behavioral/phenotypic complexity of zebrafish allows for thorough dissection of complex human brain disorders and drug-evoked pathological states. As numerous zebrafish models become available with a wide spectrum of behavioral, genetic, and environmental methods to test novel drugs, here we discuss recent zebrafish phenomics methods to facilitate drug discovery, particularly in the field of biological psychiatry. Additionally, behavioral, neurological, and endocrine endpoints are becoming increasingly well-characterized in zebrafish, making them an inexpensive, robust and effective model for toxicology research and pharmacological screening. We also discuss zebrafish behavioral phenotypes, experimental considerations, pharmacological candidates and relevance of zebrafish neurophenomics to other 'omics' (e.g., genomic, proteomic) approaches. Finally, we critically evaluate the limitations of utilizing this model organism, and outline future strategies of research in the field of zebrafish phenomics.

Keywords: Aquatic model; Behavior; Ecotoxicology; Neurophenomics; Neuropsychopharmacology; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Proteomics*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / toxicity
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical