Cognitive Aging in Zebrafish

Published: 01-01-2013 In Publication


Tags: VideoTrack

Background. Age-related impairments in cognitive functions represent a growing clinical and social issue. Genetic and
behavioral characterization of animal models can provide critical information on the intrinsic and environmental factors that
determine the deterioration or preservation of cognitive abilities throughout life. Methodology/Principal Findings. Behavior
of wild-type, mutant and gamma-irradiated zebrafish (Danio rerio) was documented using image-analysis technique.
Conditioned responses to spatial, visual and temporal cues were investigated in young, middle-aged and old animals. The
results demonstrate that zebrafish aging is associated with changes in cognitive responses to emotionally positive and
negative experiences, reduced generalization of adaptive associations, increased stereotypic and reduced exploratory
behavior and altered temporal entrainment. Genetic upregulation of cholinergic transmission attenuates cognitive decline in
middle-aged achesb55/+ mutants, compared to wild-type siblings. In contrast, the genotoxic stress of gamma-irradiation
accelerates the onset of cognitive impairment in young zebrafish. Conclusions/Significance. These findings would allow the
use of powerful molecular biological resources accumulated in the zebrafish field to address the mechanisms of cognitive
senescence, and promote the search for therapeutic strategies which may attenuate age-related cognitive decline.
Citation: Yu L, Tucci V, Kishi S, Zhdanova IV (2006) Cognitive Aging in Zebrafish. PLoS ONE 1(1): e14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000014