AFB1 toxicity and teratogenicity in Japanese Medaka eggs (Oryzias latipes)

Author(s): Llewelyn GS, Stepheson GA, Hoffman JW


Chronic and subchronic toxicity from exposure to microcystins, cyclic hepatotoxic heptapeptides from cyanobacteria, receives increasing attention as a public human health biohazard. So far, the effects of microcystin on fish have been studied mainly in adults, rather than during early life stages. Limitations of direct ambient exposure experiments to fish egg have resulted from the difficult access of microcystin through the egg chorion. Using a microinjection technology, we have introduced microcystin-LR (MC-LR) directly into one-cell stage embryos or into the vitellus of late neurula embryos (stage 19) or into the vitellus of stage 25 embryos of medaka (Oryzias latipes) at the onset of the liver anlage. Microinjection (100 pl; stage 1 or 2 nl; stage 19 or 25) of MC-LR resulted in a dose dependent mortality of embryos. Survival rates were reduced up to 90% with microcystin concentrations of 10 or 1 microg/ml (corresponding to 1-20 pg or 0.1-2 pg of toxin injected), injected either at stages 1, 19 or 25. Also, a dose dependent advanced embryonic hatching processing was observed; hatching being brought forward from 2 or 3 days compared to controls in most of the microcystin injected groups. In agreement with the known hepatotoxic effects of microcystin, injected embryos consistently displayed hepatobiliary abnormalities such as liver hypertrophy and hepatic hemorrhage, also evidenced in post-hatching juveniles. Thus, the methodology presented in this paper should be valuable tool to analyze the effects of toxins on the development of aquatic vertebrate embryos.

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