ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-180809-3
Rapid olfactory discrimination learning in adult zebrafish
Namekawa, I., Moenig, N.R., Friedrich, R.W.
Date: 2018
Source: Experimental brain research   236(11): 2959-2969 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Friedrich, Rainer
Keywords: Behavior, Discrimination, Learning, Olfaction, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical/physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning/physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior/physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Perception/physiology*
  • Smell/physiology*
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 30088022 Full text @ Exp. Brain Res.
The zebrafish is a model organism to study olfactory information processing, but efficient behavioral procedures to analyze olfactory discrimination and memory are lacking. We devised an automated odor discrimination task for adult zebrafish based on olfactory conditioning of feeding behavior. Presentation of a conditioned odor (CS+), but not a neutral odor (CS-) was followed by food delivery at a specific location. Fish developed differential behavioral responses to CS+ and CS- within a few trials. The behavioral response to the CS+ was complex and included components reminiscent of food search such as increased swimming speed and water surface sampling. Appetitive behavior was therefore quantified by a composite score that combined measurements of multiple behavioral parameters. Robust discrimination behavior was observed in different strains, even when odors were chemically similar, and learned preferences could overcome innate odor preferences. These results confirm that zebrafish can rapidly learn to make fine odor discriminations. The procedure is efficient and provides novel opportunities to dissect the neural mechanisms underlying olfactory discrimination and memory.