NTP scientists detail importance of aquatic models in toxicological research
Researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) participated in a workshop, Collaborative Workshop on Aquatic Models and 21st Century Toxicology, on the importance of using freshwater fish, such as zebrafish, to determine the toxic effects of harmful chemicals in the environment. The workshop was co-sponsored by NTP and North Carolina State University (NCSU). The resulting report included a review of emerging issues, and recommendations for enhancing the use of small fish species in toxicology studies, as well as new technologies to better understand how toxicants affect development and health. Participants agreed that standardized protocols for absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of chemicals would facilitate this goal.
Research has shown that fish and humans have similar responses in development and physiology when exposed to chemicals. Zebrafish can be useful in screening chemicals, because they are extremely fecund, or fertile, genetically diverse, transparent during the period of organ development, and they develop rapidly. Their transparency and high fecundity make it easy for scientists to observe chemical effects on development. These characteristics also allow researchers to test the effects of single or multiple chemical exposures on development and disease.
The workshop underscored the fact that aquatic models have helped further the study of cardiovascular toxicology, neurotoxicology, and immunotoxicology. The majority of participants indicated that follow-up workshops should include regulators and industry representatives. The next meeting is expected to take place in early 2017. (DD)
Citation: Planchart A, Mattingly CJ, Allen D, Ceger P, Casey W, Hinton D, Kanungo J, Kullman SW, Tal T, Bondesson M, Burgess SM, Sullivan C, Kim C, Behl M, Padilla S, Reif DM, Tanguay RL, Hamm J. 2016. Advancing toxicology research using in vivo high throughput toxicology with small fish models. ALTEX; doi:10.14573/altex.1601281 [Online 21 June 2016].