A tightly regulated relationship between brain and immune system is critical to maintain brain health. Recent research has demonstrated that peripheral immune cells and signalling molecules interact with the brain not only during disease, but also under normal healthy conditions, playing a role in the regulation of brain functions. This scenario raises an important question: can subtle changes in the peripheral immune system also affect behaviour?
In the last decade, several studies have found pro-inflammatory markers to be present in patients with major depressive disorder, suggesting a possible link in between the two. In this project, we will use the zebrafish model to characterize the behavioural phenotypes associated with organ-specific inflammation induced by pro-inflammatory chemicals.