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Behavioral Profiling of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Larvae Following Teratogen Exposure

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB,volume 1797)


Apart from morphological, biochemical, and genetic alterations induced by teratogen compounds, there is an increase interest in characterizing behavioral alterations. Behavior is a sensitive parameter that can provide information regarding developmental disruptions noninvasively, as it is the result of brain processes. Behavioral disturbances interfere with animals’ capacity to cope with the environment, having an impact on the organism’s life. Hereby, it is proposed behavioral assays consisting on recording larvae in multiwell plates and video analysis with a proper software, allowing for teratogen screening of behavior. How to evaluate locomotor, anxiety-like and avoidance-like behaviors, and the integrity of sensory-motor functions and learning are discussed in this chapter.

Key words

  • Teratogen
  • Zebrafish larvae
  • Behavior
  • Activity
  • Thigmotaxis
  • Avoidance behavior
  • Dark–light challenge
  • Startle response

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7883-0_22
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The author would like to thank Margarida Monteiro (M.S.), Jorge Ferreira (M.S., Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Porto, Portugal), and Luís Félix (PhD, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal) for their support in the behavioral tests and analysis, and Pedro Silva for his support in the Arduino assembly and programming. This work was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/103006/2014 provided by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal.

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Correspondence to Ana M. Valentim .

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Valentim, A.M. (2018). Behavioral Profiling of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Larvae Following Teratogen Exposure. In: Félix, L. (eds) Teratogenicity Testing. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 1797. Humana Press, New York, NY.

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