Effects of Histamine Antagonists on Anxiety in Zebrafish

  • Susan Heritage MacEwan University


The main objective of this research is to assess the effects of histamine antagonists on anxiety in zebrafish. Zebrafish are a popular model organism for biopsychology, as their neurochemistry is similar to that of humans (Best & Alderton, 2008), and the histaminergic system is being investigated more because of its links to neurodegenerative disease (Shan, Bao, & Swaab, 2015). Research in rats has shown that the histaminergic system is related to anxiety (Zarrindast, Moghadam, Rostami, & Roohbakhsh, 2005), and that histamine antagonists may have effects similar to SSRIs (Miyata, Hirano, Ohsawa, & Kamel, 2009). A particular drug of interest in rats is chlorpheniramine, however, its effects on anxiety in zebrafish have not yet been tested. Based on results in rats, I hypothesize that treatment with chlorpheniramine will lead to decreased anxiety in zebrafish. Anxiety will be measured using three behavioural tests. In the light/dark test, anxiety is indicated by a preference for dark environments; in the novel tank diving test anxiety is indicated by a preference for swimming near the bottom of a deep tank; and the shoaling test, in which anxiety is indicated by a preference of fish for swimming in a tight group (shoal).

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Melike Schalomon