Coping styles in zebrafish influences oxidative stress in the brain

Brady Bush, Peter Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Coping with stress is a necessary part of individual’s life to ensure longevity and overall wellbeing. Two common methods are the proactive (bold) or reactive (shy) responses to stress: the bold coping style displays more risk-prone behaviors and exhibits a low stress response, while their shy counterparts behave in a manner that is more risk-adverse and exhibit a higher stress response. Genes linked to oxidative stress were previously found to be differentially expressed in brains of zebrafish lines selected for proactive and reactive coping style (Wong et al. 2015, DOI 10.1186/s12864-015-1626-x). Oxidative stress occurs when reactive oxygen species (ROS) overwhelms the antioxidant system, leading to cellular damage and increased disease risk. We studied oxidative stress markers in the brains of bold and shy Danio rerio before and after the administration of a confinement stress treatment. Superoxide dismutase, an enzymatic antioxidant, was significantly higher in shy individuals overall and almost significantly decreased upon stress treatment for shy individuals only. Stress treatment nearly significantly increased glutathione ratio, which reflects lower oxidative stress level. However, stress treatment tended to increase DNA damage, although this was only close to significant in bold individuals only. Swimming and locomotion behavior tended to influence DNA damage levels for shy individuals only. Overall, we found some evidence for coping style influencing oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress in the brain has been causally linked to a range of psychopathologies, our result may provide useful information that will ultimately be important for improving public health.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Apr 2022
EventStudent Research & Creative Endeavors Exhibition (SRCEE) - CMU
Duration: Apr 1 2022Apr 30 2022


ConferenceStudent Research & Creative Endeavors Exhibition (SRCEE)


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