Background: The zebrafish species, Danio rerio, is a widely utilized model organism with well-characterized behaviors including anxiety-like behavior when placed into a novel environment. In addition, the fish can be treated with substances by immersion.
St. John’s Wort has been suggested as a plant-based treatment for depression and anxiety because it contains compounds that inhibit the serotonin transporter (SERT) among other effects. A number of St. John’s Wort supplements are commercially available.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that about 19% of US adults suffer an anxiety disorder each year and about 31% will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Clearly effective, inexpensive, and readily available treatments for anxiety represent an important area of research.
Objectives: Assess the ability of acute treatment with St. John’s Wort to reduce anxiety-like behavior in zebrafish.
Method: Zebrafish will be treated by immersion in a solution of St. John’s Wort supplements and assessed for anxiety in the Novel Dive Tank (NDT) Test.
Results: Acute treatment with St. John’s Wort supplements increased anxiety as measured using the NDT.
Conclusions: Acute treatment with the water-soluble constituents of St. John’s Wort supplements tested did not reduce apparent anxiety in the fish. Future studies will utilize a longer treatment time and more hydrophobic solvents.
Woodson, Sebastian and McGrew, Lori Dr., "Utilizing The Zebrafish species, Danio rerio, to assess the effect of acute treatment with St. John’s Wort Supplements on Anxiety as measured by the Novel Dive Tank Test" (2023). Research Projects. 1.