Effects of piracetam on behavior and memory in adult zebrafish

Leah Grossman, Adam Stewart, Siddharth Gaikwad, Eli Utterback, Nadine Wu, John DiLeo, Kevin Frank, Peter Hart, Harry Howard, Allan V. Kalueff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Piracetam, a derivative of γ-aminobutyric acid, exerts memory-enhancing and mild anxiolytic effects in human and rodent studies. To examine the drug's behavioral profile further, we assessed its effects on behavioral and endocrine (cortisol) responses of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) - a novel model species rapidly gaining popularity in neurobehavioral research. Overall, acute piracetam did not affect zebrafish novel tank and light-dark box behavior at mild doses (25-400. mg/L), but produced nonspecific behavioral inhibition at 700. mg/L. No effects on cortisol levels or inter-/intra-session habituation in the novel tank test were observed for acute or chronic mild non-sedative dose of 200. mg/L. In contrast, fish exposed to chronic piracetam at this dose performed significantly better in the cued learning plus-maze test. This observation parallels clinical and rodent literature on the behavioral profile of piracetam, supporting the utility of zebrafish paradigms for testing nootropic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiolytic action
  • Behavioral testing
  • Memory
  • Nootropic effects
  • Piracetam
  • Zebrafish


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of piracetam on behavior and memory in adult zebrafish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this