A growing body of evidence suggests that the biological effects of polyphenols are not restricted to antioxidant activity, but they exert a wide range of modulatory effects on metabolic pathways, cellular signaling and gene expression. In this study, we tested the minimum safe concentration of gallic acid (GA) in 72 hpf zebrafish larvae in order to evaluate the effects on the central nervous system and the behavioral response. We showed that a short exposure (30 min) induces the depletion of the two main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, Glu and GABA, respectively, in the larval nervous system. The acute impairment of GABAergic‐glutamatergic balance was paralleled by an increase of the fosab neuronal activity marker in specific brain areas, such as the forebrain, olfactory bulbs, pallial area, ventral midbrain, tegmentum, and the medulla oblongata ventral area. The neuronal excitation was mirrored by the increased cumulative motor response. The inhibition of the olfactory epithelium with brief cadmium exposition suggests a direct involvement of olfaction in the larvae response to GA. Our results demonstrate that a brief exposure to GA induces motoneuronal hyperexcitability in zebrafish. The behavioral response was probably elicited through the activation of an odorous, or chemical, stimulus. The specificity of the activated neuronal territories suggests the involvement of additional signaling pathways. Although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated, our data support the hypothesis that GA acts as an excitatory molecule, capable of inducing a specific nerve response. These results offer a new vision on potential effects of GA.
G. Annona, A. Tarallo, V. Nittoli
European Journal of Neuroscience