MPTP-Treated Zebrafish Recapitulate 'Late-Stage' Parkinson's-like Cognitive Decline

Alim A.O. Bashirzade*, Sergey V. Cheresiz, Alisa S. Belova, Alexey V. Drobkov, Anastasiia D. Korotaeva, Soheil Azizi-Arani, Amirhossein Azimirad, Eric Odle, Emma Yanina V. Gild, Oleg V. Ardashov, Konstantin P. Volcho, Dmitrii V. Bozhko, Vladislav O. Myrov, Sofia M. Kolchanova, Aleksander I. Polovian, Georgii K. Galumov, Nariman F. Salakhutdinov, Tamara G. Amstislavskaya, Allan V. Kalueff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The zebrafish is a promising model species in biomedical research, including neurotoxicology and neuroactive drug screening. 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) evokes degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and is commonly used to model Parkinson’s disease (PD) in laboratory animals, including zebrafish. However, cognitive phenotypes in MPTP-evoked experimental PD models remain poorly understood. Here, we established an LD50 (292 mg/kg) for intraperitoneal MPTP administration in adult zebrafish, and report impaired spatial working memory (poorer spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze) in a PD model utilizing fish treated with 200 µg of this agent. In addition to conventional behavioral analyses, we also employed artificial intelligence (AI)-based approaches to independently and without bias characterize MPTP effects on zebrafish behavior during the Y-maze test. These analyses yielded a distinct cluster for 200-µg MPTP (vs. other) groups, suggesting that high-dose MPTP produced distinct, computationally detectable patterns of zebrafish swimming. Collectively, these findings support MPTP treatment in adult zebrafish as a late-stage experimental PD model with overt cognitive phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Inhibitory avoidance task
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spontaneous alternation
  • Zebrafish


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