Identifying novel marine-derived neuroactive chemicals with therapeutic potential is difficult due to inherent complexities of the central nervous system (CNS), our limited understanding of the molecular foundations of neuro-psychiatric conditions, as well as the limited applications of effective high-throughput screening models that recapitulate functionalities of the intact CNS. Furthermore, nearly all neuro-modulating chemicals exhibit poorly characterized pleiotropic activities often referred to as polypharmacology. The latter renders conventional target-based in vitro screening approaches very difficult to accomplish. In this context, chemobehavioural phenotyping using innovative small organism models such as planarians and zebrafish represent powerful and highly integrative approaches to study the impact of new chemicals on central and peripheral nervous systems. In contrast to in vitro bioassays aimed predominantly at identification of chemicals acting on single targets, phenotypic chemobehavioural analysis allows for complex multi-target interactions to occur in combination with studies of polypharmacological effects of chemicals in a context of functional and intact milieu of the whole organism. In this review, we will outline recent advances in high-throughput chemobehavioural phenotyping and provide a future outlook on how those innovative methods can be utilized for rapidly screening and characterizing marine-derived compounds with prospective applications in neuropharmacology and psychosomatic medicine.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited