Research from the EARA member the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany, has found how social-distancing and self-isolation are affecting the brain.
The team raised zebrafish, either alone or with other animals, for different periods of time, and then analysed thousands of brain genes.
The findings, in Nature, showed that when the zebrafish were isolated, the neuropeptide pth2 – a protein produced by brain cells - disappeared in the brain, but its levels increased when other fish were added to the tank.
The researchers also found that these neural effects of isolation could be reversed in 30 minutes.
“This really strong and fast regulation was unexpected and indicated a very tight link between gene expression and the environment,” said Lukas Anneser, first author of the study.