Characterization of boscalid-induced oxidative stress and neurodevelopmental toxicity in zebrafish embryos

Chemosphere. 2020 Jan;238:124753. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.124753. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Boscalid is a widely used fungicide in agriculture and has been frequently detected in both environments and agricultural products. However, evidence on the neurotoxic effect of boscalid is scarce. In this study, zebrafish served as an animal model to investigate the toxic effects and mechanisms of boscalid on aquatic vertebrates or higher animals. And we unravelled that boscalid induced developmental defects associated with oxidative stress. Developmental defects, including head deformity, hypopigmentation, decreased number of newborn neurons, structural defects around the ventricle, enlarged intercellular space in the brain, and nuclear concentration, were observed in zebrafish embryos after boscalid exposure at 48 hpf. Interestingly, we found that boscalid might directly induce oxidative stress and alter the activity of ATPase, which in turn disrupted the expression of genes involved in neurodevelopment and transmitter-transmitting signalings and melanocyte differentiation and melanin synthesis signalings. Ultimately, the differentiation of nerve cells and melanocytes were both impacted and the synthesis of melanin was inhibited, leading to morphological abnormalities. Additionally, exposure to boscalid led to less and imbalance motion and altered tendency of locomotor in larval fish. Collectively, our results provide new evidences for a comprehensive assessment of its toxicity and a warning for its residues in environment and agricultural products.

Keywords: Boscalid; Melanin synthesis; Neurotoxicity; Oxidative stress; Zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biphenyl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects
  • Fungicides, Industrial / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Larva / drug effects*
  • Melanins / biosynthesis
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / pathology
  • Niacinamide / analogs & derivatives*
  • Niacinamide / toxicity
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Melanins
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Niacinamide
  • 2-chloro-N-(4-chlorobiphenyl-2-yl)nicotinamide