Switching to zebrafish neurobehavioral models: The obsessive-compulsive disorder paradigm

We propose zebrafish as an appropriate animal model to streamline the pipeline of gene functional validation of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) risk associated genes.

Davide D'Amico 1Xavier Estivill 2Javier Terriente 3

1ZeClinics SL, DCEXS-Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.

2Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the tenth most disabling illness of any kind. OCD stands as a paradigm for complex neurobehavioral disorders due to its polygenic origin. It presents heterogenic clinical presentation, variable disease onset, progression and treatment responses, what makes its understanding a major neuropsychiatric challenge. Like with other neurobehavioral disorders, animal models are essential tools for decoding OCD genetic complexity, understanding its biological base and discovering novel treatments and diagnostic methods. 20 years of rodent OCD modeling have helped to understand the disease better, but multiple questions remain regarding OCD. Innovative whole genome sequencing (WGS) approaches might provide important answers on OCD risk associated genes. However, exploiting those large data sets through the use of traditional animal models is costly and time consuming. Zebrafish might be an appropriate animal model to streamline the pipeline of gene functional validation. This animal model shows several advantages versus rodent models, such as faster and cheaper genetic manipulation, strong impact on the 3Rs implementation, behavioral phenotypic reproducibility of OCD-like behaviors (obsessions and compulsions) and feasibility to develop high-throughput assays for novel OCD drug therapies discovery. In conclusion, zebrafish could be an innovative and relevant model for understanding OCD.

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