Indexed on: 10 Jan '16Published on: 10 Jan '16Published in: NeuroToxicology
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an excellent model system for assessing the effects of toxicant exposure on behavior and neurodevelopment. In the present study, we examined the effects of sub-chronic embryonic exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a ubiquitous anthropogenic pollutant, on anxiety-related behaviors. We found that exposure to the PCB mixture, Aroclor (A) 1254, from 2 to 26h post-fertilization (hpf) induced two statistically significant behavioral defects in larvae at 7 days post-fertilization (dpf). First, during 135min of free swimming, larvae that had been exposed to 2ppm, 5ppm or 10ppm A1254 exhibited enhanced thigmotaxis (edge preference) relative to control larvae. Second, during the immediately ensuing 15-min visual startle assay, the 5ppm and 10ppm PCB-exposed larvae reacted differently to a visual threat, a red 'bouncing' disk, relative to control larvae. These results are consistent with the anxiogenic and attention-disrupting effects of PCB exposure documented in children, monkeys and rodents and merit further investigation.