Mental health affects human’s way of thinking, feeling, and acting and represents a worldwide critical concern. Both environmental and genetic factors can impair individual’s mental health increasing the risk of developing mental disorders. Our research aims to identify these genetic factors and possible therapeutic targets.
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a small freshwater teleost fish widely employed in neurobiological and behavioral studies because of its advantages over other vertebrate models such as small size, rapid development, high reproductive capacity and number of offspring, easy genetic manipulation.
84% of the genes associated with human psychiatric disease have a zebrafish counterpart and zebrafish show conservation of main human neural circuits such as dopaminergic, serotoninergic, and cholinergic systems.
Over the last decade, the number of behavioral assays in zebrafish have increased confirming its translational validity and offering the possibility to exploit the advantages of this model to identify molecular mechanisms involved in behavioral phenotypes associated with psychiatric disorders.