ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Although Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a millennia-long history of treating human brain disorders, its complex multi-target mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. Animal models are widely used to probe the effects of various TCMs on brain and behavior. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has recently emerged as a novel vertebrate model for neuroscience research, and is increasingly used for CNS drug screening and development.
AIM OF THE STUDY: As zebrafish models are only beginning to be applied to studying TCM, we aim to provide a systematic review about the TCM effects using zebrafish models.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comprehensive search of published literature was conducted using biomedical databases (Web of Science, Pubmed, Sciencedirect, Google Scholar and China National Knowledge Internet, CNKI), with key search words zebrafish, brain, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs, CNS, behavior.
RESULTS: We recognize the growing use of zebrafish for studying TCM, as well as outline the existing model limitations, problems and challenges, as well as future directions of research in this field.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the growing value of zebrafish models for studying TCM, aiming to improve our understanding of TCM' therapeutic mechanisms and potential in treating brain disorders.