ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-150621-3
Challenges in understanding psychiatric disorders and developing therapeutics: a role for zebrafish
McCammon, J.M., Sive, H.
Date: 2015
Source: Disease models & mechanisms   8: 647-56 (Review)
Registered Authors: McCammon, Jasmine, Sive, Hazel
Keywords: Animal models, Autism, Chemical screens, Co-morbidities, Psychiatric disorders, Schizophrenia, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Biological Evolution
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders/etiology*
  • Mental Disorders/therapy*
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 26092527 Full text @ Dis. Model. Mech.
The treatment of psychiatric disorders presents three major challenges to the research and clinical community: defining a genotype associated with a disorder, characterizing the molecular pathology of each disorder and developing new therapies. This Review addresses how cellular and animal systems can help to meet these challenges, with an emphasis on the role of the zebrafish. Genetic changes account for a large proportion of psychiatric disorders and, as gene variants that predispose to psychiatric disease are beginning to be identified in patients, these are tractable for study in cellular and animal systems. Defining cellular and molecular criteria associated with each disorder will help to uncover causal physiological changes in patients and will lead to more objective diagnostic criteria. These criteria should also define co-morbid pathologies within the nervous system or in other organ systems. The definition of genotypes and of any associated pathophysiology is integral to the development of new therapies. Cell culture-based approaches can address these challenges by identifying cellular pathology and by high-throughput screening of gene variants and potential therapeutics. Whole-animal systems can define the broadest function of disorder-associated gene variants and the organismal impact of candidate medications. Given its evolutionary conservation with humans and its experimental tractability, the zebrafish offers several advantages to psychiatric disorder research. These include assays ranging from molecular to behavioural, and capability for chemical screening. There is optimism that the multiple approaches discussed here will link together effectively to provide new diagnostics and treatments for psychiatric patients.