TitleDevelopmental benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) exposure impacts larval behavior and impairs adult learning in zebrafish.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKnecht, AL, Truong, L, Simonich, MT, Tanguay, RL
JournalNeurotoxicol Teratol
Date Published2017 Jan - Feb

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are produced from incomplete combustion of organic materials or fossil fuels, and are present in crude oil and coal; therefore, they are ubiquitous environmental contaminants present in urban air, dust, soil, and water. It is widely recognized that PAHs pose risks to human health, especially for the developing fetus and infant where PAH exposures have been linked to in-utero mortality, cardiovascular effects, and lower intelligence. Using the zebrafish model, we evaluated the developmental toxicity of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P). Zebrafish embryos were exposed from 6 to 120h post fertilization (hpf) to 0.4 and 4μM B[a]P. The Viewpoint Zebrabox systems were used to evaluate larval photomotor response (LPR) activity and we identified that exposure to 4μM B[a]P resulted in a hyperactive LPR phenotype. To evaluate the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) in this larval phenotype, we exposed ahr2(hu2334) null larvae to 4μM B[a]P. Though ahr2(hu2334) larvae did not display hyperactive swimming, these larvae had a decrease in LPR activity, suggesting that AHR2 plays a role in B[a]P induced larval hyperactivity. To determine if developmental B[a]P exposures would produce adult behavioral deficits, a subset of exposed animals was raised to adulthood and tested in a conditioned stimulus test using shuttleboxes. Developmentally exposed B[a]P zebrafish exhibited decreased learning and memory. Together this data demonstrates that developmental B[a]P exposure adversely impacts larval behavior, and learning in adult zebrafish.

Alternate JournalNeurotoxicol Teratol
PubMed ID27989697
PubMed Central IDPMC5235990
Grant ListP30 ES000210 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
P42 ES016465 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States