Zebrafish larvae are a novel testing system for psychoactive substances. Image: National Institute of Genetics, CC BY 4.0
Zebrafish larvae used for high-throughput testing of new appetite suppressants - health short science news

In the search for new psychoactive drugs, scientists have turned to zebrafish larvae. By observing the larvae’s behavior, many drugs can already be filtered out for unwanted side effects. The advantages of using larvae of zebrafish are that they can be reproduced in large quantities in a short period of time, and that their behavior is well characterized. Scientists can monitor feeding behavior of thousands of larvae at the same time by applying fluorescent paramecia (unicellular organisms). This approach led to a quick screening of more than 10,000 small molecules, 500 of which acted on appetite, and 250 did so without inducing side effects. Some of these molecules were then tested in mice and found to influence appetite in a molecular manner that is different from already existing compounds without side effects. Zebrafish larvae will be used for the screening of other compounds, for instance of the discovery of antidepressants in the near future.

Read the full story: University of Zurich
Scientific publication: Science Advances