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Alterations in the brain serotonin system and serotonin-regulated behavior during aging in zebrafish males and females.

The brain serotonin (5-HT) system performs a neurotrophic function and supports the plasticity of the nervous system, while its age-related changes can increase the risk of senile neurodegeneration. Zebrafish brain is highly resistant to damage and neurodegeneration due to its high regeneration potential and it is a promising model object in searching for molecular factors preventing age-related neurodegeneration. In the present study alterations in 5-HT-related behavior in the home tank and the novel tank diving test, as well as 5-HT, 5-HIAA levels, tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity and the expression of genes encoding TPH, MAO, 5-HT transporter and 5-HT receptors in the brain of 6, 12, 24 and 36 month old zebrafish males and females are investigated. Marked sexual dimorphism in the locomotor activity in the novel tank test is revealed: females of all ages move slower than males. No sexual dimorphism in 5-HT-related traits is observed. No changes in 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels in zebrafish brain during aging is observed. At the same time, the aging is accompanied by a decrease in the locomotor activity, TPH activity, tph2 and htr1aa genes expression as well as an increase in the MAO activity and slc6a4a gene expression in their brain. These results indicate that the brain 5-HT system in zebrafish is resistant to age-related alterations.

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