Using visual lateralization to model learning and memory in zebrafish larvae.

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Impaired learning and memory are common symptoms of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. Present, there are several behavioural test employed to assess cognitive functions in animal models, including the frequently used novel object recognition (NOR) test. However, although atypical functional brain lateralization has been associated with neuropsychiatric conditions, spanning from schizophrenia to autism, few animal models are available to study this phenomenon in learning and memory deficits. Here we present a visual lateralization NOR model (VLNOR) in zebrafish larvae as an assay that combines brain lateralization and NOR. In zebrafish larvae, learning and memory are generally assessed by habituation, sensitization, or conditioning paradigms, which are all representatives of nondeclarative memory. The VLNOR is the first model for zebrafish larvae that studies a memory similar to the declarative memory described for mammals. We demonstrate that VLNOR can be used to study memory formation, storage, and recall of novel objects, both short and long term, in 10-day-old zebrafish. Furthermore we show that the VLNOR model can be used to study chemical modulation of memory formation and maintenance using dizocilpine (MK-801), a frequently used non-competitive antagonist of the NMDA receptor, used to test putative antipsychotics in animal models.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Neurology
Original languageEnglish
Article number8667
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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