Neurohypophyseal hormones protect against pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures in zebrafish: Role of oxytocin-like and V1a-like receptor

Daniela Braida, Andrea Donzelli, Roberta Martucci, Luisa Ponzoni, Alberto Pauletti, Mariaelvina Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oxytocin (OT) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) are involved in the physiological response to different stressors like the occurrence of seizures which is regarded as a severe stress factor. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is recently featured as a model of epilepsy but the role of neurohypophyseal hormones on this teleost is still unknown. We attempted to determine whether non-mammalian homologues like isotocin (IT) and vasotocin (AVT) affected pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizures in adult zebrafish in comparison with OT/AVP. The mechanism was studied using the most selective OT and AVP receptor antagonists. Zebrafish were injected i.m. with increasing doses (0.1-40 ng/kg) of the neuropeptides 10 min before PTZ exposure. DesGly-NH2-d(CH2)5-[D-Tyr2,Thr4]OVT (desglyDTyrOVT) for OT receptor and SR49059 for V1a subtype receptor, were injected together with each agonist 20 min before PTZ exposure. All the peptides significantly decreased the number of seizures, increased the mean latency time to the first seizure and decreased lethality. This protective effect led to a dose-response curve following a U-shaped form. IT was approximately 40 times more active than OT while AVT was 20 times more potent than AVP in reducing the number of seizures. DesglyDTyrOVT was more effective in antagonizing OT/IT, while SR49059 mainly blocked AVP/AVT-induced protection against PTZ-induced seizures. The present findings provide direct evidence of an important involvement of IT/OT and AVP/AVT as anticonvulsant agents against PTZ-induced seizures with a receptor-mediated mechanism in zebrafish. These data reinforce zebrafish as an emerging experimental model to study and identify new antiepileptic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Anticonvulsant
  • Epilepsy
  • Hormone
  • Neurohypophyseal
  • Teleost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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