Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Defining behavioral phenotypes associated with dopaminergic nervous system toxicity in zebrafish larvae

Parkinson's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are motor conditions characterized by dysfunction of dopaminergic signaling in the brain. The origins of these dopamine-related movement conditions are largely unknown. Epidemiological studies have suggested that environmental causes may exist, as evidenced by the association between the onset of these disorders and risk factors like exposures to pesticides and lead, both of which can target the dopaminergic nervous system. In light of these suspected associations, a need exists for the development of a screen for dopaminergic toxicity so that potential hazardous chemicals can be identified. This work describes a model of dopaminergic dysfunction using larval zebrafish. Specifically, behavioral analyses following acute exposure to dopaminergic drugs and toxicants are detailed, in addition to the effects of developmental lesioning on behavior and dopaminergic pathway structure. In general, larval zebrafish appear to be good predictors of dopaminergic dysfunction, and may serve as an efficient model system in identifying environmental agents that may contribute to the onset of dopamine-related movement disorders.