Developmental role of acetylcholinesterase in impulse control in zebrafish

Front Behav Neurosci. 2015 Oct 16;9:271. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00271. eCollection 2015.


Cellular and molecular processes that mediate individual variability in impulsivity, a key behavioral component of many neuropsychiatric disorders, are poorly understood. Zebrafish heterozygous for a nonsense mutation in ache (ache (sb55/+)) showed lower levels of impulsivity in a 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) than wild type and ache(+∕+). Assessment of expression of cholinergic (nAChR), serotonergic (5-HT), and dopamine (DR) receptor mRNA in both adult and larval (9 dpf) ache (sb55/+) revealed significant downregulation of chrna2, chrna5, and drd2 mRNA in ache (sb55/+) larvae, but no differences in adults. Acute exposure to cholinergic agonist/antagonists had no effect on impulsivity, supporting the hypothesis that behavioral effects observed in adults were due to lasting impact of developmental alterations in cholinergic and dopaminergic signaling. This shows the cross-species role of cholinergic signaling during brain development in impulsivity, and suggests zebrafish may be a useful model for the role of cholinergic pathways as a target for therapeutic advances in addiction medicine.

Keywords: 5-choice serial reaction time; Dopamine D2 receptor; acetylcholinesterase; impulsivity; zebrafish.