Research Article: Fish models for ecotoxicology

Date Published: February 24, 2012

Publisher: BioMed Central

Author(s): Leif Norrgren.


Partial Text

Development of fish models for assessment of chemicals, which may interfere with different parts of the life cycle, act over consecutive generations and with a potential to have impact on populations, are essential for risk assessment and environmental protection.

Fish laboratory models covering different parts of the life cycle and different routes of exposure are continuously developed and modified in order to meet new challenges. The most important exposure routes are by injection, trough contaminated water or feed [1]. For laboratory studies zebrafish (Danio rerio), medaka (Oryzias latipes), fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) are key species proposed by OECD.

Besides laboratory assays more complex tests can be performed by using in situ exposure models by deployed cages. These models are used to determine for instance offshore oil production, impact of remediation activities [11] and sewage/industrial effluents.

Mesocosm models have the advantage compared to laboratory and in situ models that these maintain a natural ecosystem community close to natural conditions and thereby mimicking a real ecosystem. Mesocosm models can be either land-or water based. Interactions between algae, invertebrates and fish can be assessed.

Fish models to assess the impact of chemicals are continuously developed in order to introduce more sensitive and relevant endpoints. Today, this development includes a panorama of methodologies such as gene expression, proteomics, physiological biomarkers, pathology, reproduction and behaviour.