Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Effects of hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers in developing zebrafish are indicative of disruption of oxidative phosphorylation

Legradi, Jessica; van Pomeren, Marinda; Dahlberg, Anna-Karin; Legler, Juliette


Hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (OH-PBDEs) have been detected in humans and wildlife. Using in vitro models, we recently showed that OH-PBDEs disrupt oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), an essential process in energy metabolism. The goal of the current study was to determine the in vivo effects of OH-PBDE reported in marine wildlife. To this end, we exposed zebrafish larvae to 17 OH-PBDEs from fertilisation to 6 days of age, and determined developmental toxicity as well as OXPHOS disruption potential with a newly developed assay of oxygen consumption in living embryos. We show here that all OH-PBDEs tested, both individually and as mixtures, resulted in a concentration-dependant delay in development in zebrafish embryos. The most potent substances were 6'-OH-BDE47 and 6-OH-BDE49 (No-Effect-Concentration: 0.1 and 0.05 mu M). The first 24 h of development were the most sensitive, resulting in significant and irreversible developmental delay. All substances increased oxygen consumption, an effect indicative of OXPHOS disruption. Our results suggest that the induced developmental delay may be caused by disruption of OXPHOS. Though further studies are needed, our findings suggest that the environmental concentrations of some OH-PBDEs found in Baltic Sea wildlife in the Baltic Sea may be of toxicological concern.


zebrafish; OXPHOS disruption; hydroxylated PBDEs

Published in

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
2017, volume: 18, number: 5, article number: 970

Authors' information

Legradi, Jessica
VU University Amsterdam
van Pomeren, Marinda
Leiden University
van Pomeren, Marinda
VU University Amsterdam
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Stockholm University
Legler, Juliette
VU University Amsterdam
Legler, Juliette
Brunel University London

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
SDG3 Good health and well-being

UKÄ Subject classification

Developmental Biology
Other Chemistry Topics

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)