The effects of copper and benzo[a]pyrene on retinoids and reproduction in zebrafish Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This study examines whether a link exists between toxicant exposure, retinoids and reproduction in fish. Zebrafish were fed a control diet (8.1 microg Cu/g diet, 0 microg benzo[a]pyrene/g diet) or diets containing elevated copper (100 microg, 500 microg and 1000 microg Cu/g diet) or benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P; 30 and 150 microg B[a]P/g diet) for 260 days. Toxicant-supplemented diets did not affect growth or mortality rates. While whole body retinoid levels in control zebrafish decreased during the experiment, females exposed to Cu or B[a]P for 200 days or more experienced additional losses of retinyl esters (45-100% depleted) and retinal (45% depleted in B[a]P-fed fish). Despite the reduced retinoids, Cu and B[a]P did not effect reproduction with respect to the number of eggs spawned, fertilization rates or egg retinal content (retinal was instead increased 55-65% in eggs from B[a]P-fed fish). There were no apparent deformities observed in 36 h post fertilization embryos from any treatment. It appears that although internal retinoid stores were depleted in adults, dietary retinoids were sufficient to meet the daily requirement for retinal deposition in the eggs and retinoic acid synthesis. This study has shown that retinoid levels in female zebrafish are sensitive to Cu and B[a]P, and are a good indicator of long-term exposure. It also brings to light the resiliency of the retinoid system in fish and the importance of the diet on the toxicological response. Specifically that dietary retinoids appear to support normal reproduction in the absence of internal retinoid stores.

publication date

  • May 2007

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