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arsenic; development; DNT; lead; metalloids, metals; methylmercury; neurotoxicity; zebrafish


Developmental exposure to neurotoxic chemicals presents significant health concerns because of the vulnerability of the developing central nervous system (CNS) and the immature brain barrier. To date, a short list of chemicals including some metals have been identified as known developmental neurotoxicants; however, there are still numerous chemicals that remain to be evaluated for their potential developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). To facilitate evaluation of chemicals for DNT, the zebrafish vertebrate model system has emerged as a promising tool. The zebrafish possesses a number of strengths as a test species in DNT studies including an abundance of embryos developing ex utero presenting ease in chemical dosing and microscopic assessment at all early developmental stages. Additionally, rapid neurodevelopment via conserved molecular pathways supports the likelihood of recapitulating neurotoxic effects observed in other vertebrates. In this review, we describe the biological relevance of zebrafish as a complementary model for assessment of DNT. We then focus on a metalloid and two metals that are known developmental neurotoxicants (arsenic, methylmercury, and lead). We summarize studies in humans and traditional vertebrate models and then detail studies defining the toxicity of these substances using the zebrafish to support application of this model system in DNT studies.


This is the publisher PDF of Lee, J.; Freeman, J.L. Zebrafish as a Model for Developmental Neurotoxicity Assessment: The Application of the Zebrafish in Defining the Effects of Arsenic, Methylmercury, or Lead on Early Neurodevelopment. Toxics 2014, 2, 464-495. It is made available here CC-BY and is available at DOI 10.3390/toxics2030464.