A comprehensive characterizations of zebrafish rheotactic behaviors and its application to otoprotective drug screening

Eunjung Han, Yun Jae Choi, Saemi Park, Yoon Chan Rah, Hae Chul Park, Sang Hyun Lee, June Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aquatic animals have rheotaxis that maintains a balance in response to water flow. They sense water flow through hair cells in lateral line, thereby leading to behavior changes relevant to damages on hair cells, the primary sensory receptor cells within auditory and vestibular systems. Zebrafish are efficient animal models for high-throughput drug screening with human-like hair cells along the lateral line. Their rheotactic behaviors could be assays for hair-cell-targeted drug screening. However, knowledge and tools for rheotaxis analysis along the extent of hair-cell damage have not been fully investigated. This article aims at characterization of rheotactic behaviors identifying lateral line states via an analysis platform that simultaneously examines multiple zebrafish larvae. To this end, we developed an automated framework that incorporated animal test hardware equipment and real-time analysis software for monitoring aquatic behaviors of multiple larvae. Through this framework, a commensurable measure for one-dimensional characterization of rheotactic behaviors was consolidated so that its linear changes could be associated with the population of hair cells remaining intact. These findings satisfied requests for an automated analysis platform to conduct large-scale screening and a biomarker that discriminate the seriousness of hair cell damage to screen candidates having significant effects in otoprotective drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121496
JournalExpert Systems With Applications
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by Korea University grants and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIT) (2019R1A2C1084855, 2022R1A5A1027646, 2022R1I1A2072826), Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through the Technology Development Project for Safety Management of Household Chemical Products, funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE; 2020002960007 and NTIS-1485017544); the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the ICAN (ICT Challenge and Advanced Network of HRD) program (IITP-2022-RS-2022-00156439) supervised by the IITP (Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation). The authors are grateful to Zebro members (Baehun Moon, Hyejin Han, Hokyu Kim, Eunhyang Cha) for giving advice on our data. Our findings have new contributing potential in rheotactic behavior. It is named so for its similarity in shape with the first letter “Giyeok” of Korean writing system, ‘Han-geul’.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aquatic trajectory analysis
  • Automated platform
  • Drug screening
  • Hair cells
  • Rheotaxis
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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