Ex Vivo Measurement of Electrically Evoked Dopamine Release in Zebrafish Whole Brain

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2017 Sep 20;8(9):1880-1888. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00022. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have recently emerged as useful model organism for the study of neuronal function. Here, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) at carbon-fiber microelectrodes was used to measure locally evoked dopamine release and uptake in zebrafish whole brain preparations and results were compared with those obtained from brain slices. Evoked dopamine release ([DA]max) was similar in whole brain and sagittal brain slice preparations (0.49 ± 0.13 μM in whole brain and 0.59 ± 0.28 μM in brain slices). Treatment with α-methyl-p-tyrosine methyl ester (αMPT), an inhibitor of tyrosine hydroxylase, diminished release and the electrochemical signal reappeared after subsequent drug washout. No observed change in stimulated release current occurred after treatment with desipramine or fluoxetine in the whole brain. Treatment with the uptake inhibitors, nomifensine or GBR 12909 increased [DA]max, while treatment with sulpiride, a D2 dopamine autoreceptor antagonist, resulted in increased stimulated dopamine release in whole brain, but had no effect on release in slices. Dopamine release in whole brains increased progressively up to an electrical stimulation frequency of 25 Hz, while release in slices increased up to a frequency of only 10 Hz and then plateaued, highlighting another key difference between these preparations. We observed a lag in peak dopamine release following stimulation, which we address using diffusion models and pharmacological treatments. Collectively, these results demonstrate the electrochemical determination of dopamine release in the whole, intact brain of a vertebrate species ex vivo and are an important step for carrying out further experiments in zebrafish.

Keywords: Zebrafish; autoreceptor; dopamine; microelectrode; release; voltammetry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoreceptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Autoreceptors / metabolism
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Diffusion
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Electric Stimulation* / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation* / methods
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism
  • Tissue Culture Techniques* / methods
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Zebrafish


  • Autoreceptors
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine