Zebrafish models in neuropsychopharmacology and CNS drug discovery

Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Jul;174(13):1925-1944. doi: 10.1111/bph.13754. Epub 2017 Apr 5.


Despite the high prevalence of neuropsychiatric disorders, their aetiology and molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly utilized as a powerful animal model in neuropharmacology research and in vivo drug screening. Collectively, this makes zebrafish a useful tool for drug discovery and the identification of disordered molecular pathways. Here, we discuss zebrafish models of selected human neuropsychiatric disorders and drug-induced phenotypes. As well as covering a broad range of brain disorders (from anxiety and psychoses to neurodegeneration), we also summarize recent developments in zebrafish genetics and small molecule screening, which markedly enhance the disease modelling and the discovery of novel drug targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Central Nervous System Agents / chemistry
  • Central Nervous System Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemical synthesis
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries / therapeutic use*
  • Zebrafish


  • Central Nervous System Agents
  • Small Molecule Libraries