Zebrafish may help offer mental illness treatment

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London, Jan 19 (ANI): American researchers say zebrafish can help find treatments for mental illness and neurological disorders since their brain chemistry is similar to humans.

According to Randall Peterson of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the responses of zebrafish to medication can be useful to predict how the same drug will affect people.

For their study, Peterson and his colleagues exposed Zebrafish embryos to thousands of drugs and recorded how each affected their reaction to a flash of light or a slight poke.

The study has been published in Nature Chemical Biology.

Meanwhile, Alexander Schier at Harvard University and his team analysed how various drugs changed the sleep-wake cycles of zebrafish larvae.

Both teams concluded that each drug had its own "fingerprint" in terms of the kinds of behaviour it produced. And drugs with similar fingerprints tended to tweak the same molecular pathways, suggesting that zebrafish behaviour is a good indicator for how a drug will change chemistry in the human brain.

"I can't tell you what a psychotic zebrafish looks like but I can tell you what a zebrafish treated with an antipsychotic looks like," New Scientist quoted Peterson, as saying.

Using this approach, researchers identified chemicals that can help in the treatment of depression, Alzheimer's disease and sleeping disorders. This study has been published in Science. (ANI)

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