Zebrafish may provide a great platform for finding new drugs for neurological disorders suggest a paper published online in Nature Chemical Biology this week. The discovery in the 1950's of drugs that act in the nervous system has been very important both for understanding neurobiology and treating neurological diseases. However, very few drugs have been discovered for these diseases since.
Randall Peterson, David Kokel and colleagues report that different types of neurological drugs caused distinct patterns of behaviours in zebrafish. By looking at the behavioral effects of a large number of chemicals, the investigators were able to identify new chemicals that affect behaviour and to predict how these chemicals might be acting.
This 'behavioral barcoding' of chemical effects in zebrafish provides a much needed new approach for identifying leads for neurological diseases.