Involvement of dopamine signaling pathway in neurodevelopmental toxicity induced by isoniazid in zebrafish


INH impaired the development of vasculature and reduced the behavior of zebrafish.

INH induced brain apoptosis and increased the expression of apoptosis related genes.

INH inhibited dopamine neuron development and the expression of dopamine related genes.



This study evaluated the neurodevelopmental toxicity of isoniazid (INH) in zebrafish embryos and the underlying mechanism.


Zebrafish embryos were exposed to different concentrations (2 mM, 4 mM, 8 mM, 16 mM, 32 mM) INH for 120 hpf. During the exposure period, the percentage of embryo/larva mortality, hatching, and morphological malformation were checked every 24 h until 120 hpf. The development of blood vessels in the brain was observed at 72 hpf and 120 hpf, and behavioral capacity and acridine orange (AO) staining were measured at 120 hpf. Alterations in the mRNA expression of apoptosis and dopamine signaling pathway related genes were assessed by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR).


INH considerably inhibited zebrafish embryo hatching and caused zebrafish larval malformation (such as brain malformation, delayed yolk sac absorption, spinal curvature, pericardial edema, and swim bladder defects). High concentration of INH (16 mM, 32 mM) even induced death of zebrafish. In addition, INH exposure markedly restrained the ability of the zebrafish autonomous movement, shortened the length of dopamine neurons and inhibited vascular development in the brain. No obvious apoptotic cells were observed in the control group, whereas considerable numbers of apoptotic cells appeared in the head of INH-treated larvae at 120 hpf. PCR results indicated that INH significantly raised the transcription levels of caspase-3, -8, -9, and bax and significantly decreased bcl-2 and bcl-2/bax in the zebrafish apoptotic signaling pathway. INH also markedly decreased the genes related to dopamine signaling pathway (th1, dat, drd1, drd2a, drd3, and drd4b).


Experimental results indicated that INH had obvious neurodevelopmental toxicity in zebrafish. Persistent exposure to INH for 120 h caused apoptosis, decreased dopaminergic gene expression, altered vasculature, and reduced behaviors.


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