Yang, X., Sun, Z., Wang, W., Zhou, Q., Shi, G., Wei, F., Jiang, G. (2018) Developmental toxicity of synthetic phenolic antioxidants to the early life stage of zebrafish. The Science of the total environment. 643:559-568.
Synthetic phenolic antioxidants (SPAs) have gained high concerns due to their extensive usages and unintended environmental release via various routes. Their contamination in water system could pose potential threat to aquatic organisms, therefore, the studies on the aquatic toxicology of this kind of chemicals are of high importance. In this research, the developmental toxicities of four commonly used SPAs, including butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), and 2,2'-methylenebis (6-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol) (AO2246) were investigated using the zebrafish embryo toxicity test (ZFET). The results showed that these four SPAs exerted different acute toxicities to zebrafish, and the toxic order, based on their 96 h LC50 values, was AO2246 > TBHQ > BHA > BHT, and decreased hatching rates were induced for the embryos in BHA, TBHQ and AO2246 exposure groups. Non-lethal exposures of BHA (≤20 μM), TBHQ (≤20 μM), BHT (≤200 μM) and AO2246 (≤2 μM) decreased the heart rates and body lengths of zebrafish in exposure concentration-dependent manners. Diverse morphological deformities, including uninflated swim bladder, pericardial edema, spinal curvature, severe yolk deformation, or abnormal pigmentation, were induced in zebrafish larvae upon SPA treatments. The transcriptional levels of the related genes, examined by quantitative PCR, indicated that the interferences of SPAs with hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis), GH/PRL synthesis and Hedgehog (hh) pathway contributed to their developmental toxicities in zebrafish. The up-regulation of pluripotency biomarker, Oct4, caused the developmental retardation during the early stages of zebrafish embryos in BHA and TBHQ exposure groups. The results obtained herein provided important information on the developmental toxicity of SPAs, which could be very helpful in guiding the risk assessment on their aquatic toxicology.