The development of anxiety disorders is often linked to individuals’ negative experience. In many animals, development of anxiety-like behavior is modeled by manipulating individuals’ exposure to environmental enrichment. We investigated whether environmental enrichment during early ontogenesis affects anxiety-like behavior in larval zebrafish. Larvae were exposed from hatching to either an environment enriched with 3D-objects of different color and shape or to a barren environment. Behavioral testing was conducted at different intervals during development (7, 14, and 21 days post-fertilization, dpf). In a novel object exploration test, 7 dpf larvae of the two treatments displayed similar avoidance of the visual stimulus. However, at 14 and 21 dpf, larvae of the enriched environment showed less avoidance, indicating lower anxiety response. Likewise, larvae of the two treatments demonstrated comparable avoidance of a novel odor stimulus at 7 dpf, with a progressive reduction of anxiety behavior in the enriched treatment with development. In a control experiment, larvae treated before 7 dpf but tested at 14 dpf showed the effect of enrichment on anxiety, suggesting an early determination of the anxiety phenotype. This study confirms a general alteration of zebrafish anxiety-like behavior due to a short enrichment period in first days of life.

Environmental enrichment decreases anxiety-like behavior in zebrafish larvae

Gatto E.
;
De Russi G.;Lucon Xiccato T.
2022

Abstract

The development of anxiety disorders is often linked to individuals’ negative experience. In many animals, development of anxiety-like behavior is modeled by manipulating individuals’ exposure to environmental enrichment. We investigated whether environmental enrichment during early ontogenesis affects anxiety-like behavior in larval zebrafish. Larvae were exposed from hatching to either an environment enriched with 3D-objects of different color and shape or to a barren environment. Behavioral testing was conducted at different intervals during development (7, 14, and 21 days post-fertilization, dpf). In a novel object exploration test, 7 dpf larvae of the two treatments displayed similar avoidance of the visual stimulus. However, at 14 and 21 dpf, larvae of the enriched environment showed less avoidance, indicating lower anxiety response. Likewise, larvae of the two treatments demonstrated comparable avoidance of a novel odor stimulus at 7 dpf, with a progressive reduction of anxiety behavior in the enriched treatment with development. In a control experiment, larvae treated before 7 dpf but tested at 14 dpf showed the effect of enrichment on anxiety, suggesting an early determination of the anxiety phenotype. This study confirms a general alteration of zebrafish anxiety-like behavior due to a short enrichment period in first days of life.
Gatto, E.; Dadda, M.; Bruzzone, M.; Chiarello, E.; De Russi, G.; Maschio, M. D.; Bisazza, A.; Lucon Xiccato, T.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2490681
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