Integrative whole-brain neuroscience in larval zebrafish

Gilles C. Vanwalleghem, Misha B. Ahrens, Ethan K. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Due to their small size and transparency, zebrafish larvae are amenable to a range of fluorescence microscopy techniques. With the development of sensitive genetically encoded calcium indicators, this has extended to the whole-brain imaging of neural activity with cellular resolution. This technique has been used to study brain-wide population dynamics accompanying sensory processing and sensorimotor transformations, and has spurred the development of innovative closed-loop behavioral paradigms in which stimulus–response relationships can be studied. More recently, microscopes have been developed that allow whole-brain calcium imaging in freely swimming and behaving larvae. In this review, we highlight the technologies underlying whole-brain functional imaging in zebrafish, provide examples of the sensory and motor processes that have been studied with this technique, and discuss the need to merge data from whole-brain functional imaging studies with neurochemical and anatomical information to develop holistic models of functional neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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