Behavioral effects of MDMA ('ecstasy') on adult zebrafish

Adam Stewart, Russell Riehl, Keith Wong, Jeremy Green, Jessica Cosgrove, Karoly Vollmer, Evan Kyzar, Peter Hart, Alexander Allain, Jonathan Cachat, Siddharth Gaikwad, Molly Hook, Kate Rhymes, Alan Newman, Eli Utterback, Katie Chang, Allan V. Kalueff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy') is a potent psychedelic drug inducing euphoria and hypersociability in humans, as well as hyperactivity and anxiety in rodents. Adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) have become a widely used species in neurobehavioral research. Here, we explore the effects of a wide range (0.25-120 mg/l) of acute MDMA doses on zebrafish behavior in the novel tank test. Although MDMA was inactive at lower doses (0.25-10 mg/l), higher doses reduced bottom swimming and immobility (40-120 mg/l) and impaired intrasession habituation (10-120 mg/l). MDMA also elevated brain c-fos expression, collectively confirming the usage of zebrafish models for screening of hallucinogenic compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • anxiety
  • locomotion
  • novelty-based paradigms
  • psychedelic hallucinogenic drugs
  • zebrafish


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