Isolation of the Tephrosia vogelii extract and rotenoids and their toxicity in the RTgill-W1 trout cell line and in zebrafish embryos

Toxicon. 2020 Aug;183:51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2020.05.013. Epub 2020 May 23.


This study focused on identifying the rotenoids from the Tephrosia vogelli plant (fish-poison-bean), investigating the toxic potency of a crude T. vogelii extract and individual rotenoids (tephrosin, deguelin and rotenone) in vitro and in vivo and assessing the mode of action. A trout (Onychorynhis mykiss) gill epithelial cell line (RTgill-W1) was used to determine the cytotoxicity of rotenoids and effects on cell metabolism. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) aged from 3 h post fertilization (hpf) to 72 hpf were used for testing the developmental toxicity. The crude T. vogelii plant extract significantly decreased the cellular metabolic activity and was cytotoxic at lower concentrations (5 and 10 nM, respectively), while tephrosin, deguelin and rotenone showed these effects at concentrations ≥ 50 nM. The crude T. Vogelli extract had the highest toxic potency and induced adverse health effects in zebrafish including deformities and mortality at the lowest concentration (5 nM) compared to rotenone (10 nM) and deguelin and tephrosin (50 nM). These results indicate that the crude T. Vogelii extracts are highly potent and the bioactivity of these extracts warrant further investigation for their potential use to treat parasites in human and veterinary medicine and as a natural alternative to pesticides.

Keywords: Cell-culture; Gill; Rotenoids; T. vogelii; Trout; Zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Rotenone / analogs & derivatives
  • Rotenone / toxicity*
  • Tephrosia*
  • Trout
  • Zebrafish / embryology


  • Insecticides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Rotenone
  • tephrosin
  • deguelin