TBBPA chronic exposure produces sex-specific neurobehavioral and social interaction changes in adult zebrafish
Published: 07-01-2016 In Publication
The toxicity of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) has been extensively studied because of its high production volume. TBBPA is toxic to aquatic fish based on acute high concentration exposure tests, and few studies have assessed the behavioral effects of low concentration chronic TBBPA exposures in aquatic organisms. The present study defined the developmental and neurobehavioral effects associated with exposure of zebrafish to 0, 5 and 50 nM TBBPA during 1–120 days post-fertilization (dpf) following by detoxification for four months before the behaviors assessment. These low concentration TBBPA exposures were not associated with malformations and did not alter sex ratio, but resulted in reduced zebrafish body weight and length. Adult behavioral assays indicated that TBBPA exposed males had significantly higher average swim speeds and spent significantly more time in high speed darting mode and less time in medium cruising mode compared to control males. In an adult photomotor response assay, TBBPA exposure was associated with hyperactivity in male fish. Female zebrafish responses in these assays followed a similar trend, but the magnitude of TBBPA effects was generally smaller than in males. Social interaction evaluated using a mirror attack test showed that 50 nM TBBPA exposed males had heightened aggression. Females exposed to 50 nM TBBPA spent more time in the vicinity of the mirror, but did not show increased aggression toward the mirror compared to unexposed control fish. Overall, the hyperactivity and social behavior deficits ascribed here to chronic TBBPA exposure was most profound in males. Our findings indicate that TBBPA can cause developmental and neurobehavioral deficits, and may pose significant health risk to humans.