Behavioral and neurotoxic effects of arsenic exposure in zebrafish (Danio rerio, Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

Micheli Rosa de Castro, Juliane Ventura Lima, Diana Paula Salomão de Freitas, Roberto de Souza Valente, Natália Seus Dummer, Rosiane Borba de Aguiar, Luciane Cougo dos Santos, Luis Fernando Marins, Laura Alicia Geracitano, José María Monserrat, Daniela Martí Barros
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Toxicology & Pharmacology: CBP 2009, 150 (3): 337-42
This study investigated the passive avoidance conditioning in zebrafish (Danio rerio). An instrument was developed for measuring escape responses triggered by a conditioned stimulus. This system allowed quantification of latency of crossing from a light to a dark zone. Zebrafish were trained to swim from an illuminated to a dark compartment, where they received a body shock (training session). The proposed methodology was efficient for evaluation of working, short, and long-term memory formation of an aquatic animal model. The possibility of employing memory measurements in toxicity tests, in order to obtain an ecologically meaningful biomarker response, was also analyzed. In this experiment, immediately after the training session, fish were exposed to three arsenic (As(V)) concentrations. After the test session, the brain was removed for biochemical analyses. A control group was kept in tap water. After exposure, animals were submitted to a one-trial inhibitory avoidance test for measurement of long-term memory (LTM). Results from behavioral and biochemical analyses showed that the three As(V) concentrations impaired LTM (p<0.05) and increased protein oxidation, which suggests an amnesic and pro-oxidant effect of As(V). Evaluation of behavior parameters in aquatic models is an important complement in studies concerning the environmental impact of chemical substances.

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