header logo image header logo text
Downloads Login
General Information
ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-010601-2
Melatonin promotes sleep-like state in zebrafish(1)
Zhdanova, I.V., Wang, S.Y., Leclair, O.U., and Danilova, N.P.
Date: 2001
Source: Brain research   903(1-2): 263-268 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Danilova, Nadia, Leclair, Ojingwa, Zhdanova, Irina
Keywords: melatonin; sleep; zebrafish; receptor; benzodiazepine; barbiturate
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants/pharmacology*
  • Diazepam/pharmacology
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives/pharmacology
  • Melatonin/pharmacology*
  • Motor Activity/drug effects
  • Pentobarbital/pharmacology
  • Sleep/drug effects*
  • Species Specificity
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 11382414 Full text @ Brain Res.
The sleep-promoting effect of the pineal hormone melatonin in humans is known for decades. However, the mechanisms of this phenomenon remain obscure, mainly due to lack of a simple, genetically tractable, animal model. We now report that melatonin promotes sleep-like state in a diurnal lower vertebrate, zebrafish (Danio rerio), and this effect is mediated through activation of specific melatonin membrane receptors. Furthermore, our data show that the sleep-like state in zebrafish has fundamental similarities with sleep in mammals, including characteristic postures, elevated arousal threshold to sensory stimulation and a compensatory rest rebound following rest deprivation, and can be induced by conventional hypnotics, diazepam and sodium pentobarbital. Collectively, these data indicate that melatonin is evolutionary conserved sleep-promoting agent in diurnal species and suggest that zebrafish provide an efficient animal model for studying the molecular mechanisms of sleep regulation and for screening new types of hypnotic medications.