In recent years, due to its rapid reproduction rate and the similarity of its genetic structure to that of human, the zebrafish has been widely used as a pain model to study chemical influences on behavior. Swimming behaviors are mediated by motoneurons in the spinal cord that drive muscle contractions, therefore a knowledge of internal muscle mechanics can assist the understanding of the effects of drugs on swimming activity. To demonstrate that the technique used in our study can supplement biological observations by quantifying the contribution of muscle effects to altered swimming behaviours, we have evaluated the pain/damage caused by 0.1% acetic acid to the muscle of 5 dpf zebrafish larvae and the effect of protection from this pain/damage with the saponin Gypenosides (GYP) extracted from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. We have quantified the parameters related to muscle such as muscle power and the resultant hydrodynamic force, proving that GYP could alleviate the detrimental effect of acetic acid on zebrafish larvae, in the form of alleviation from swimming debility, and that the muscle status could be quantified to represent the degree of muscle damage due to the acetic acid and the recovery due to GYP. We have also linked the behavioral changes to alteration of antioxidant and inflammation gene expression. The above results provide novel insights into the reasons for pain-related behavioral changes in fish larvae, especially from an internal muscle perspective, and have quantified these changes to help understand the protection of swimming behaviors and internal muscle by GYP from acetic acid-induced damage.
- computational fluid dynamics simulation; hydrodynamic performance; gypenosides; acetic acid; zebrafish