Chondroitin Sulphate Acts as an 'Alarm Cue' in Zebrafish

  • Jasmin Bajwa MacEwan University

Abstract

Zebrafish are conspecific organisms that are sensitive to the use of ‘alarm cues’, a procedure in behavioural fish research used to create experimental stress responses. We used a commercially available chemical compound, chondroitin sulphate, extracted from shark cartilage, as the possible ‘alarm cue’. This chemical compound controls for standardization errors common with alarm cues extracted from individual fish. We conducted an open field test, followed by a novel object approach test, to assess the behavioural responses consequential of 30 minutes of chondroitin sulphate exposure at different concentrations (ie. 1, 10, and 100 mg/L). Secondly, we locally applied 250 μL of 100 mg/L of chondroitin sulphate to the centre of an open field arena, and again assessed behavioural responses. The time individual fish spent in the centre, transition, and thigmotaxis zones was examined, along with the distance each fish moved and the time spent immobile. There was a significant increase in the time fish spent in the thigmotaxis zone during the novel object approach test after chondroitin sulphate exposure. We also found that fish in the experimental group spent more time in the thigmotaxis zone following the injection of chondroitin sulphate, compared to fish in the control group. These findings suggest this compound can be used as a reliable alarm cue stimulus in zebrafish. 


Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)


Faculty Mentor: Trevor Hamilton


Department: Psychology


NOTE: This work is available to MacEwan users only at https://roam.macewan.ca/islandora/object/gm:2042

Published
2020-04-27