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Casting a wider net: New system measures brain activity of several zebrafish concurrently

Example of EEG signals detected during baseline recording and during the application of convulsant. (a) shows the EEG signal from a fish that hadn’t been treated by anti-epileptic drug (AED) while (b) shows the signal from a fish that had been treated by AED. AED-treated and untreated fish demonstrate clear differences in EEG signal. Credit: dgist Before a drug can be used to treat patients, it goes through several rounds of testing for efficacy and toxicity, which begin in animal models. Zebrafish, a tiny species of fish native to South Asia, are cheaper to maintain and easier to breed than laboratory mice or other animal models. They also share many disease-related genes with us, particularly those involved in neurological disorders. This makes them a great model for drug development.

While different experimental methodologies have been developed to study the effects of drugs in zebrafish , they have several major shortcomings. Most notably, behavior monitoring, a popular approach that involves observing the behavior of zebrafish in a tank after administering a drug to them, cannot be used to accurately quantify their neurological responses. Techniques that can be used for more accurate quantification, such as electroencephalography (EEG)—measuring the electrical brain activity non-invasively […]

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