Rapid Evaluation of Toxicity of Chemical Compounds using Zebrafish Embryos

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


The zebrafish is a widely used vertebrate model organism for the disease and phenotype-based drug discovery. The zebrafish generates many offspring, has transparent embryos and rapid external development. Zebrafish embryos can, therefore, also be used for the rapid evaluation of toxicity of the drugs that are precious and available in small quantities. In the present article, a method for the efficient screening of the toxicity of chemical compounds using 1-5-day post fertilization embryos is described. The embryos are monitored by stereomicroscope to investigate the phenotypic defects caused by the exposure to different concentrations of compounds. Half-maximal lethal concentrations (LC50) of the compounds are also determined. The present study required 3-6 mg of an inhibitor compound, and the whole experiment takes about 8-10 h to be completed by an individual in a laboratory having basic facilities. The current protocol is suitable for testing any compound to identify intolerable toxic or off-target effects of the compound in the early phase of drug discovery and to detect subtle toxic effects that may be missed in the cell culture or other animal models. The method reduces procedural delays and costs of drug development.