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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Development of an oxidative stress in vitro assay in zebrafish (Danio rerio) cell lines

Lungu-Mitea, Sebastian; Oskarsson, Agneta; Lundqvist, Johan


The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key regulator of cellular defense against oxidative stress and correlated with classical toxicological endpoints. In vitro methods using fish cell lines for the assessment of aquatic toxicity are needed for mechanistic studies and as an alternative to in vivo. We describe an in vitro assay to study oxidative stress using zebrafish cell lines. Transfection efficiency of twelve commercially available transfection reagents were tested in the zebrafish cell lines ZFL, ZF4, and Pac2. The most efficient reagent for each cell line was selected for further experiments. Cells were transiently transfected with an Nrf2-responsive luciferase plasmid. The assay was tested using the oxidative stress inducing chemicals tertbutylhydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulforaphane. Of the transfected cell lines, ZF4 and ZFL showed higher sensitivity. The latter were used to study potential oxidative stress induced by pesticides (diazinon, deltamethrin, atrazine, metazachlor, terbutylazine, diuron). Besides known inducers, Nrf2 activity was also significantly induced by diazinon, deltametrin, diuron, and metazachlor. Activation of Nrf2 by metazachlor is a novel finding. The described assay could be a valuable tool for research in toxicology to study the stress response of both pure chemicals and environmental water samples.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2018, Volume: 8, article number: 12380