Using zebrafish to assess developmental neurotoxicity

Stephanie Padilla, Robert C. MacPhail, Jessica Legradi

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


It is widely accepted that the developing nervous system is especially vulnerable to a variety of chemicals, including drugs and environmental contaminants. It is also clear that our understanding of the risks from chemical exposures during development is rudimentary, and that the resources for remedying the situation are legion. As a result, increasing attention is directed toward alternative test methods including in vitro preparations, computational (in silico) models, and in vivo model (or alternative) organisms. In particular, zebrafish have become a popular test species in toxicology, pharmacology, and biomedical research. In this chapter, we review several issues, results, and research needs regarding the use of zebrafish to assess developmental neurotoxicity. Considerable advances have been made in understanding the basic biology of nervous system development in zebrafish, in techniques for rapidly evaluating the effect of chemical exposures on nervous system development, and, notably, to a lesser extent, in understanding the significance of results for predicting human effects. This chapter was written as an introduction to the use of zebrafish in developmental neurotoxicology, and to encourage the use of this model either for screening or mechanistic purposes. We have endeavored to make the reader aware of significant research findings, and to offer a balanced view of the advantages and limitations in using zebrafish as a model for investigating developmental neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReproductive and Developmental Toxicology
EditorsRamesh Gupta
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128042403
ISBN (Print)9780128042397
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Alternative model
  • Developmental toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Screening
  • Zebrafish


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