Effects of Dechlorane Plus exposure on axonal growth, musculature and motor behavior in embryo-larval zebrafish


Developmental neurobehavioral toxicity of Dechlorane Plus (DP) was investigated using the embryo-larval stages of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Normal fertilized embryos were waterborne exposed to DP at 15, 30, 60 μg/L beginning from 6 h post-fertilization (hpf). Larval teratology, motor activity, motoneuron axonal growth and muscle morphology were assessed at different developmental stages. Results showed that DP exposure significantly altered embryonic spontaneous movement, reduced touch-induced movement and free-swimming speed and decreased swimming speed of larvae in response to dark stimulation. These changes occurred at DP doses that resulted no significant teratogenesis in zebrafish. Interestingly, in accord with these behavioral anomalies, DP exposure significantly inhibited axonal growth of primary motoneuron and induced apoptotic cell death and lesions in the muscle fibers of zebrafish. Furthermore, DP exposure at 30 μg/L and 60 μg/L significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) formation, as well as the mRNA transcript levels of apoptosis-related genes bax and caspase-3. Together, our data indicate that DP induced neurobehavioral deficits may result from combined effects of altered neuronal connectivity and muscle injuries.