De Lombaert, M. C. M., Rick, E. L., Krugner-Higby, L. A. et al. 2017. Behavioral characteristics of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) after MS222 anesthesia for fin excision. JAALAS 56(4), 377-381.
The health of laboratory animals is an ethical responsibility of researchers and a critical determinant of experimental outcome. Therefore, all Husbandry & Management procedures should be evaluated for their effects on mortality, behavior, and physiology to maximize animal welfare and minimize experimental variability. For adult zebrafish, the excision of a small portion of the caudal fin (that is, 'fin clipping') under MS222 anesthesia is a common procedure to obtain tissue for genotyping. The potential effect of this procedure on behavioral and physiologic assays of feeding, anxiety, and stress has not previously been assessed. Here, we evaluated feeding behavior, anxiety-associated behaviors, and physiologic indicators of stress at multiple time points within 24 h after performing a standard fin-clip procedure under MS222 anesthesia. Within 1 h of the procedure, fin-clipped fish showed a mild increase in anxiety and exhibited reduced feeding; however, these effects were short-lived, and the fish exhibited baseline levels of anxiety and feeding by 6 and 24 h after fin clipping. Together with the zebrafish's ability to regenerate fin tissue and the low mortality associated with fin clipping, our data support the continued practice of this technique under MS222 anesthesia as a routine Husbandry & Management procedure that is unlikely to alter experimental outcomes related to feeding, anxiety, or stress.