top of page
Windows 7 ultimate collection of wallpapers (60).jpg

Danio rerio as a Model Animal for Assessing Microplastic Toxicity

Heena Gupta, Sanjogdeep Kaur and Zorawar Singh

16 Oct 2022

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7213069


Microplastics are presently a major worldwide hazard, whether they come from massive plastic breakdown or directly from consumer and industrial items. By altering their physicochemical characteristics, weathering processes of plastics cause the fragmentation of polymers into microplastics. Due to delayed disposal of plastic waste, a lack of detecting equipment and specific removal techniques and a slow disposal rate, microplastics are prevalent in the environment. Microplastics are tiny enough to be easily absorbed. As a result, the presence of microplastics poses a hazard to both live species present in benthic zones and the water column. Microplastics therefore have non-lethal impacts on these creatures. In the present paper, various studies have been reviewed to find the effects of microplastics on Danio rerio (Zebrafish). Various microplastics caused epithelial damage, lipid accumulation in the liver, metabolic changes, adverse effects on gonads, obstructed fin regeneration and contraction parameters in the heart tissue of Danio rerio. Exposure to polystyrene decreased the bioavailability and bioaccumulation of F-53B which significantly reduced the body weight of Danio rerio larvae and resulted in oxidative stress and inflammation. Other sublethal effects included significant decrease in swimming distance as well as speed. Acetylcholinesterase activity of Danio rerio was remarkably inhibited by the microplastic exposure which further induced the immune responses. These findings emphasise the health hazards associated with microplastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Further studies are needed to assess the health impacts associated with microplastic exposure and their possible remedies.


Department of Zoology, Khalsa College Amritsar, Punjab, India 143001
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to ZS



Gupta H, Kaur S and Singh Z (2022) Danio rerio as a model animal for assessing microplastic toxicity. Environ Sci Arch 1(2): 98-103.


1. Cunningham B, Harper B, Brander S, et al. (2022) Toxicity of micro and nano tire particles and leachate for model freshwater organisms. Journal of Hazardous Materials 429: 128319. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.128319.

2. Chen G, Yang H and Wang J (2021) Microplastics in the Marine Environment: Sources, Fates, Impacts and Microbial Degradation. Toxics 9(2): 41. DOI: 10.3390/toxics9020041.

3. Chen Q, Lackmann C, Wang W, et al. (2020) Microplastics lead to Hyperactive swimming behaviour in Adult Zebrafish. Aquatic Toxicology 224: 105521. DOI /10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105521.

4. Drobne D, SeverŠkapin A, Dolar A, et al. (2022) Effects of microplastics from disposable medical masks on terrestrial invertebrates. Journal of Hazardous Materials 438: 129440. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.129440.

5. Dimitriadi A, Papaefthimiou C, Genizegkini E, et al. (2021) Adverse effects polystyrene microplastics exert on zebrafish hearts – Molecular to individual level. Journal of Hazardous Materials 416(1): 125969. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125969.

6. Gu L, Tian L, Peng S, et al. (2020) Inhibitory effects of Polystyrene microplastics on caudal fin regeneration in Zebrafish larvae. Environmental Pollution 266: 114664. DOI: /10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114664.

7. Kokalj J, Dolar A, Drobne D, et al. (2022) Environmental hazard of Polypropylene microplastics from disposable medical masks: acute toxicity towards Daphnia magna and current knowledge on other polypropylene microplastics. Microplastics & Nanoplastics DOI: 10.1186/s43591-021-00020-0.

8. Limonta G, Mancia A, Benkhalqui A, et al. (2019) Microplastics induce transcriptional changes, immune response and behavioural alterations in adult zebrafish. Sci Rep 9, 15775 . DOI: /10.1038/s41598-019-52292-5.

9. Lu Y, Zang Y, Feng D, et al. (2016) Uptake and Accumulation of Polystyrene Microplastics in Zebrafish and Toxic Effects in Liver. Environmental Science and Technology 50: 4054-4060. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00183.

10. Limonta G, Mancia A, Abelli L, et al. (2021) Effects of microplastics on head kidney gene expression and enzymatic biomarkers in adult Zebrafish. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology 245: 109037. DOI: /10.1016/j.cbpc.2021.109037.

11. Pie X, Heng X and Chu W, et al. (2022) Polystyrene microplastics induce microbiota dysbiosis, oxidative damage and innate immune disruption in zebrafish. Microbial Pathogenesis 163: 105387. DOI: /10.1016/j.micpath.2021.105387.

12. Qiao R, Deng Y, Zhang S, et al. (2019) Accumulation of different shapes of microplastics initiates intestinal injury and gut microbiota dysbiosis in the gut of zebrafish. Chemosphere 236: 124334. DOI: /10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.07.065.

13. Qiang L and Cheng J (2021) Exposure to polystyrene microplastics impairs gonads of zebrafish. Chemosphere 263: 128161. DOI: /10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128161.

14. Qiang L and Cheng J (2019) Exposure to microplastics decreases swimming competence in larval zebrafish. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 176: 226-233. DOI: /10.1016/jecoenv.2019.03.088.

15. Singh Z (2022) Microplastics are everywhere. Environ Sci Arch 1(1):1-3. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7133067

16. Xiao W, Yin J, Pan Y, et al. (2022) Microplastics can affect the trophic cascade strength and stability of plankton ecosystems via behavior-mediated indirect interactions. Journal of Hazardous Materials 430: 128415. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.128415.

17. Yang H, Lai H, Huang J, et al. (2020) Polystyrene microplastics decrease F-53B bioaccumulation but induce inflammatory stress in larval zebrafish. Chemosphere 255: 127040. DOI: /10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127040.

18. Yu H, Chen Q, Qiu W, et al. (2022) Concurrent water and foodborne exposure to microplastics leads to differential microplastics ingestion and neurotoxic effects in zebrafish. Water 219: 118582. DOI: /10.1016/j.watres.2022.118582.


License: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. Visit for more details

bottom of page