The effect of thyroperoxidase and deiodinase inhibition on anterior swim bladder inflation in the zebrafish

Authors : 

  • Evelyn Stinckens
  • Lucia Vergauwen
  • Brett R Blackwell
  • Gerald T. Ankley
  • Daniel L. Villeneuve
  • Dries Knapen


A set of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) linking inhibition of thyroperoxidase and deiodinase to impaired swim bladder inflation in fish has recently been developed. These AOPs help to establish links between these thyroid hormone (TH) disrupting molecular events and adverse outcomes relevant to aquatic ecological risk assessment. Until now, very few data on the effects of TH disruption on inflation of the anterior chamber (AC) of the swim bladder were available. The present study used zebrafish exposure experiments with three model compounds with distinct thyroperoxidase and deiodinase inhibition potencies (methimazole, iopanoic acid and propylthiouracil) to evaluate this linkage. Exposure to all three chemicals decreased whole body triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations, either through inhibition of thyroxine (T4) synthesis or through inhibition of Dio mediated conversion of T4 to T3. A quantitative relationship between reduced T3 and reduced AC inflation was established, a critical key event relationship linking impaired swim bladder inflation to TH disruption. Reduced inflation of the AC was directly linked to reductions in swimming distance compared to controls as well as to chemical-exposed fish whose ACs inflated. Together the data provide compelling support for AOPs linking TH disruption to impaired AC inflation in fish.