J Vet Sci.  2008 Dec;9(4):351-357. 10.4142/jvs.2008.9.4.351.

In vivo alternative testing with zebrafish in ecotoxicology

  • 1Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea. pjhak@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of KRF Zoonotic Disease Priority Research Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.
  • 3Institute for Experimental Animals, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-799, Korea.


Although rodents have previously been used in ecotoxicological studies, they are expensive, time-consuming, and are limited by strict legal restrictions. The present study used a zebrafish (Danio rerio) model and generated data that was useful for extrapolating toxicant effects in this system to that of humans. Here we treated embryos of the naive-type as well as a transiently transfected zebrafish liver cell line carrying a plasmid (phAhREEGFP), for comparing toxicity levels with the well-known aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-binding toxicants: 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB126), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, and 3-methylcholanthrene. These toxicants induced a concentration-dependent increase in morphological disruption, indicating toxicity at early life-stages. The transient transgenic zebrafish liver cell line was sensitive enough to these toxicants to express the CYP1A1 regulated enhanced green fluorescent protein. The findings of this study demonstrated that the zebrafish in vivo model might allow for extremely rapid and reproducible toxicological profiling of early life-stage embryo development. We have also shown that the transient transgenic zebrafish liver cell line can be used for research on AhR mechanism studies.


aryl hydrocarbon receptor; enhanced green fluorescent protein; zebrafish
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