Serotonergic modulation of vigilance states in zebrafish and mice

Nat Commun. 2024 Mar 22;15(1):2596. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-47021-0.


Vigilance refers to being alertly watchful or paying sustained attention to avoid potential threats. Animals in vigilance states reduce locomotion and have an enhanced sensitivity to aversive stimuli so as to react quickly to dangers. Here we report that an unconventional 5-HT driven mechanism operating at neural circuit level which shapes the internal state underlying vigilance behavior in zebrafish and male mice. The neural signature of internal vigilance state was characterized by persistent low-frequency high-amplitude neuronal synchrony in zebrafish dorsal pallium and mice prefrontal cortex. The neuronal synchronization underlying vigilance was dependent on intense release of 5-HT induced by persistent activation of either DRN 5-HT neuron or local 5-HT axon terminals in related brain regions via activation of 5-HTR7. Thus, we identify a mechanism of vigilance behavior across species that illustrates the interplay between neuromodulators and neural circuits necessary to shape behavior states.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Serotonergic Neurons / physiology
  • Serotonin* / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology
  • Zebrafish*


  • Serotonin