Michelle Huang

Michelle Huang

The Effect of Perfluoroheptanoic Acid on the Development and Behavior of Danio rerio


Michelle Huang, Emma Ivantsova, Christopher L. Souders II, John A. Bowden, Christopher J. Martyniuk


Dr. Christopher Martyniuk


College of Veterinary Medicine


Perfluorinated compounds are ubiquitous in our environment, exerting teratogenic and neurotoxic effects in wildlife including fish. These compounds can be produced as by-products from industry or produced through waste sewage and landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency seeks to collect both analytical and biological toxicity data for these compounds in order to better regulate them and assess risk. The objectives of this project was to assess the acute toxicity of perfluoroheptanoic acid to zebrafish embryos by measuring mortality, morphological deformities, oxidative respiration, gene expression, and behavioral outcomes. These effects were mainly tested through locomotor activity via the Visual Motor Response test and an anxiety assay. Zebrafish were used in this study because they possess a high degree of genetic similarity to humans and are widely used as a model for disease in toxicological research. Zebrafish embryos at 6-h post-fertilization (hpf) were exposed to either embryo rearing medium (ERM), or one dose of 0.01, 0.1, 1.0, 10, and 50 μM perfluoroheptanoic acid for 7 days post-fertilization (dpf). Deformities such as spinal curvature, pericardial edema, and yolk sac edema were quantified during the exposure to perfluorinated chemicals. On day 7 of the exposure, an anxiety assay was conducted in three independent trials to determine whether (0.01-50 µM) alters locomotor activity and anxiety-like symptoms. These data are expected to improve understanding of the potential risk of perfluorinated chemicals to fish and will contribute to environmental risk assessments for the perfluorinated chemicals on aquatic organisms.


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