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Effect of acute exposure of saxitoxin on development of zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio)

Chen, Guoliang, Jia, Zimu, Wang, Linping, Hu, Tingzhang
Environmental research 2020 v.185 pp. 109432
DNA damage, Danio rerio, acetylcysteine, acute exposure, adverse effects, angiogenesis, animal models, apoptosis, caspase-3, catalase, developmental toxicity, embryo (animal), enzyme activity, genes, glutathione, hatching, heart rate, malondialdehyde, mortality, reactive oxygen species, saxitoxins, superoxide dismutase, surface water, transcription (genetics)
As a type of cyanobacterial toxins, saxitoxin (STX) is receiving great interest due to its increasing presence in waterbodies. However, the underlying mechanism of STX-induced adverse effect is poorly understood. Here, we examined the developmental toxicity and molecular mechanism induced by STX using zebrafish embryos as an animal model. The embryonic toxicity induced by STX was demonstrated by inhibition of embryo hatching, increase in mortality rate, abnormal heart rate, abnormalities in embryo morphology as well as defects in angiogenesis and common cardinal vein remodeling. STX induced embryonic DNA damage and cell apoptosis, which would be alleviated by antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Additionally, STX significantly increased reactive oxygen species level, catalase activity and malondialdehyde content and decreased the activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione content. STX also promoted the expression of vascular development-related genes DLL4 and VEGFC, and inhibited VEGFA expression. Furthermore, STX altered the transcriptional regulation of apoptosis-related genes (BAX, BCL-2, P53 and CASPASE 3). Taken together, STX induced adverse effect on development of zebrafish embryos, which might be associated with oxidative stress-induced apoptosis.