Screening for drugs to reduce aggression in zebrafish

Neuropharmacology. 2019 Sep 15:156:107394. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.10.023. Epub 2018 Oct 16.


Aggression is a common symptom of several human psychiatric disorders. However, the drugs available to treat aggression are non-specific and can have unwanted side effects. The zebrafish is an ideal model for behavioural pharmacology. They are small, aggression can be measured reliably, and drugs can be applied by immersion in the tank water. The ability to visualise and manipulate circuits in the intact brain represents an excellent opportunity to understand how chemical compounds modify the signalling pathways that control this behaviour. This review discusses protocols to measure zebrafish aggression, the neural circuits that control this behaviour and how pharmacological studies can inform us about environmental toxicology and the development of therapeutic drugs for humans. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Current status of the neurobiology of aggression and impulsivity'.

Keywords: Aggression; Behaviour; Drug screen; Neural circuit; Zebrafish.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons
  • Zebrafish


  • Environmental Pollutants