Uptake and accumulation of polystyrene microplastics in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and toxic effects in liver

Microplastics have become an emerging contaminant and caused widespread concern about its potential toxic effects. In this study, the uptake and tissue accumulation of polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs) in zebrafish were detected, as well as the toxic effects in liver were investigated. The results showed that after 7 days of exposure, 5-μm diameter MPs accumulated in fish gill, liver, and gut, while 20-μm diameter MPs only accumulated in fish gill and gut. Histopathological analysis showed that both sizes of 5-μm and 70-nm PS-MPs caused inflammation and lipid accumulation in fish liver. PS-MPs also induced significantly increased activities of SOD and CAT, indicating oxidative stress was induced after MPs treatment. In addition, metabolomic analysis suggested that MPs exposure induced alterations of metabolic profiles in fish liver and disturbed the lipid and energy metabolism. These findings provide new insights into the toxic effects of MPs on fish.

Yifeng Lu, Yan Zhang, Yongfeng Deng, Wei Jiang, Yanping Zhao, Jinju Geng, Lili Ding, and Hong-qiang Ren, Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 50 (7), pages 4054-4060, April 2016

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