Melatonin treatment reverses cognitive and endocrine deficits evoked by a 24-h light exposure in adult zebrafish

Neurosci Lett. 2020 Aug 10:733:135073. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2020.135073. Epub 2020 May 22.


Melatonin is an important pineal hormone that regulates human and animal circadian rhythms and sleep. Mounting clinical and rodent evidence indicates that melatonin also modulates affective behaviors and cognition. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is rapidly becoming a powerful novel model organism in translational neuroscience research. Here, we evaluate the effects of a 24-h melatonin treatment on behavior and physiology of adult zebrafish with circadian rhythm disturbed by a 24-h light exposure. While such light exposure evoked overt cognitive and neuroendocrine (cortisol) deficits in zebrafish, these effects were reversed by a 24-h melatonin treatment. Collectively, these findings suggest a positive modulation of affective and cognitive phenotypes in zebrafish by melatonin, and reinforce the growing utility of zebrafish models for studying circadian, cognitive and behavioral processes and their neuroendocrine regulation in vivo.

Keywords: Cognition; Cortisol; Light cycle; Melatonin; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Male
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Zebrafish


  • Melatonin
  • Hydrocortisone