Environmental concentration of carbamazepine accelerates fish embryonic development and disturbs larvae behavior
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Environmental pollution caused by pharmaceuticals has been recognized as a major threat to the aquatic ecosystems. Carbamazepine, as the widely prescribed antiepileptic drug, has been frequently detected in the aquatic environment and has created concerns about its potential impacts in the aquatic organisms. The effects of carbamazepine on zebrafish embryos were studied by examining their phenotype, behavior and molecular responses. The results showed that carbamazepine disturbed the normal growth and development of exposed zebrafish embryos and larvae. Upon exposure to carbamazepine at 1 μg/L, the hatching rate, body length, swim bladder appearance and yolk sac absorption rate were significantly increased. Embryos in treatment groups were more sensitive to touch and light stimulation. At molecular level, exposure to an environmentally relevant concentration (1 μg/L) of carbamazepine disturbed the expression pattern of neural-related genes of zebrafish embryos and larvae. This study suggests that the exposure of fish embryo to antiepileptic drugs, at environmentally relevant concentrations, affects their early development and impairs their behavior. Such impacts may have future repercussions by affecting fish population structure.
KeywordsCarbamazepine Zebrafish larvae Accelerated development Behavior change Molecular response
This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No. s2012010010847), the New Century Excellent Researcher Award Program from Ministry of Education of China (No. NECT-12-0181), and the State Key Lab of Estuarine and Coastal Research (2012RCDW01).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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