All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Stephen A Watts

Advisory Committee Members

Robert Sorge

Mickie Powell

Ken Marion

Thane Wibbels

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Here we demonstrate the utility of a zebrafish-based model of nociception to serve as a novel screening tool for analgesic drugs. Zebrafish swimming behavior was measured following administration of various algogens used in rodent research. All compounds reduce distance traveled, thought to be an expression of nociception. Furthermore, we undertook to investigate the contribution of sex and feeding history on the acetic acid-evoked nociceptive response in zebrafish. Data suggest that male fish were more sensitive to pain than females, and that females recovered from pain faster than males. Dietary restriction increased pain sensitivity in zebrafish. We then tested the viability of adult zebrafish as a model for thermal hyperalgesia. Our secondary objective was to confirm the existence of a stress induced hyperthermic response which may be an indicator of sentience. Zebrafish chose to spend the most time in water over 33°C no matter their sex or drug treatment. Cortisol levels were lower when fish in the nociceptive treatment were held at 34°C rather than 24°C. These data support the use of zebrafish as a cost‐effective high-throughput model for tests of nociception with results comparable to rodent models. We do not suggest adult zebrafish are an appropriate model for thermal hyperalgesia and it remains unknown if zebrafish are capable of experiencing stress induced hyperthermia.



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