Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals

Comparison of cholin- and carboxylesterase enzyme inhibition and visible effects in the zebra fish embryo bioassay under short-term paraoxon-methyl exposure.

PMID 16908441


The acute zebra fish embryo test (Danio rerio Hamilton-Buchanan, 1822) is an accepted bioassay to assess the toxicity of waste water that may be used for the replacement of testing with adult fish. It is also suggested for chemical hazard characterization and assessment, although only a few groups of substances have yet been studied. Specifically acting substances such as neurotoxic insecticides pose a potentially hazard for non-target fish. To establish whether the proposed zebra fish embryo test protocol and the inhibition of cholinesterases (acetylcholinesterase EC, propionylcholinesterase EC and carboxylesterase (EC enzymes can be used in a similar fashion for hazard characterization and risk assessment of chemicals and environmental samples, two types of experiments were conducted. Visual effects of exposure to the organophosphate metabolite paraoxon-methyl after 24 and 48 h in the zebra fish embryo test system were analysed with the use of an inverse microscope (rate of mortality, developmental disturbances, heart rate and others). The inhibition to cholinesterases and carboxylesterase was also measured. Enzyme inhibition as a biomarker of exposure was about 70 times more sensitive than the effects in the zebra fish embryo test with an IC50 below 1.2 micromol compared with an EC50 of 91 micromol. The dose-response relationships showed different curve characteristics with a linear increase of enzyme inhibition compared with a sigmoidal curve for the overt effects. Significant overt effects could only be seen at concentrations at which already 80% of the activities of the different esterases were inhibited.

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Paraoxon-methyl, PESTANAL®, analytical standard