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Transgenic fluorescent zebrafish Tg(fli1:EGFP)y1 for the identification of vasotoxicity within the zFET

: Delov, Vera; Muth-Köhne, Elke; Schäfers, Christoph; Fenske, Martina


Aquatic toxicology 150 (2014), pp.189-200
ISSN: 0166-445X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()
zebrafish; GFP-fluorescence; transgenic fish; vasotoxicity; fish embryo toxicity test; quantifiable endpoint

The fish embryo toxicity test (FET) is currently one of the most advocated animal alternative tests in ecotoxicology. To date, the application of the FET with zebrafish zFET has focused on acute toxicity assessment, where only lethal morphological effects are accounted for. An application of the zFET beyond acute toxicity, however, necessitates the establishment of more refined and quantifiable toxicological endpoints. A valuable tool in this context is the use of gene expression-dependent fluorescent markers that can even be measured in-vivo. We investigated the application of embryos of Tg(fli1:EGFP)y1 for the identification of vasotoxic substances within the zFET. Tg(fli1:EGFP)y1 fish express enhanced GFP in the entire vasculature under the control of the fli1 promoter, and thus enable the visualisation of vascular defects in live zebrafish embryos. We assessed the fli1 driven EGFP-expression in the intersegmental blood vessels (ISVs) qualitatively and quantitatively, and found an exposure concentration related increase in vascular damage for chemicals like triclosan, cartap and genistein. The fluorescence endpoint ISV-length allowed an earlier and more sensitive detection of vasotoxins than the bright field assessment method. In combination with the standard bright field morphological effect assessment, an increase in significance and value of the zFET for a mechanism-specific toxicity evaluation was achieved. This study highlights the benefits of using transgenic zebrafish as convenient tools for identifying toxicity in-vivo and to increase sensitivity and specificity of the zFET.