252 | The antisocial network: Larval zebrafish raised in social isolation show lower response thresholds for threat detection but reduced multisensory integration.

Sensory and Motor Systems

Author: Valentin Azar | Email: azarvalentin8@gmail.com

Valentín Azar , Nicolás Martorell , Valentín Agulló , Violeta Medan


Early postnatal social interaction is critical for establishing proper behavioral patterns while social isolation during early development is a risk factor for various psychopathologies such as depression, anxiety and autistic-type disorders. Zebrafish (ZF) are social vertebrates that aggregate in groups both in nature and in the laboratory and are susceptible to social isolation. In this work, we asked whether early social isolation affects risk assessment and multisensory integration of danger stimuli. Taking advantage that ZF do not require parental care, we kept ZF in groups of 50 individuals or in individual opaque containers since egg fertilization and tested their behavior 10-30 days post fertilization. We evaluated ZF escape behavior in response to visual, acoustic or multisensory stimuli. Isolated ZF showed lower escape thresholds than control ZF. However, while the combination of an auditory and a visual (multisensory) stimulus increases the probability of escape in control ZF, isolated ZF did not show significant multisensory integration. Multisensory integration is proportionally lower when the salience of the unisensory stimuli is high. We speculate that the hyper reactivity triggered by social isolation produces a deficit in decision making: isolated ZF will escape in response to irrelevant stimuli while being unable to correctly integrate complementary sources of information.