Induction of developmental toxicity and cardiotoxicity in zebrafish embryos/larvae by acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA) through oxidative stress

Drug Chem Toxicol. 2022 Jan;45(1):143-150. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2019.1663865. Epub 2019 Oct 28.


Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), a triterpenoid from Boswellia serrate, is regarded as an angiogenesis inhibitor. However, its toxicity is unknown. The aim of this study was to examine its developmental toxicity and cardiotoxicity. A developmental toxicity assay in zebrafish embryos/larvae from 4 to 96 hours post-fertilization (hpf) was performed and a cardiotoxicity assay was designed from 48 to 72 hpf. Markers of oxidative stress and related genes were selected to access the possible mechanisms. According to the results, AKBA induced pericardium edema, yolk-sac edema, abnormal melanin, spinal curvature, hatching inhibition and shortened body length. Further, increased SV-BA distance, reduced heart rate, increased pericardium area and decreased blood flow velocity were detected in AKBA treated groups. The inhibition of cardiac progenitor gene expression, such as Nkx2.5 and Gata4, may be related to cardiotoxicity. The activities of antioxidant enzymes were decreased and the content of MDA was increased. In addition, AKBA treatment decreased the expression levels of Mn-Sod, Cat, and Gpx. These results suggested that AKBA induced developmental toxicity and cardiotoxicity through oxidative stress. As far as we know, this is the first report on the toxicity of AKBA. It reminds us to pay attention to developmental toxicity and cardiotoxicity of AKBA.

Keywords: Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid; cardiotoxicity; developmental toxicity; oxidative stress; zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Larva
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Triterpenes* / toxicity
  • Zebrafish* / genetics


  • Triterpenes
  • acetyl-11-ketoboswellic acid