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Mycotoxins induce developmental toxicity and behavioural aberrations in zebrafish larvae

Khezri, Abdolrahman, Herranz-Jusdado, Juan G., Ropstad, Erik, Fraser, Thomas WK.
Environmental pollution 2018 v.242 pp. 500-506
Danio rerio, T-2 toxin, deoxynivalenol, fungi, hatching, inhibitory concentration 50, larvae, lethal concentration 50, median effective concentration, models, ochratoxin A, secondary metabolites, teratogenicity, vertebrates, zearalenol, zearalenone
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by varieties of fungi that contaminate food and feed resources and are capable of inducing a wide range of toxicity. In the current study, we investigated developmental and behavioural toxicity in zebrafish larvae after exposure to six different mycotoxins; ochratoxin A (OTA), type A trichothecenes mycotoxin (T-2 toxin), type B trichothecenes mycotoxin (deoxynivalenol - DON), and zearalenone (ZEN) and its metabolites alpha-zearalenol (α-ZOL) and beta-zearalenol (β-ZOL). Developmental defects, hatching time, and survival were monitored until 96 h post fertilisation (hpf). The EC50, LC50, and IC50 values were calculated. Subsequently, to assess behavioural toxicity, new sets of embryos were exposed to a series of non-lethal doses within the range of environmental and/or developmental concern. Results indicated that all the tested mycotoxins were toxic, they all induced developmental defects, and with the exception of OTA, all affected hatching time. Behavioural effects were only observed following exposure to OTA and ZEN and its metabolites, α ZOL and β ZOL. These results demonstrate that mycotoxins are teratogenic and can influence behaviour in a vertebrate model.