Impact of environmental chemicals on craniofacial skeletal development: Insights from investigations using zebrafish embryos


Craniofacial skeletal anomalies are among the most common structural birth defects around the world. Various studies using human populations and experimental animals have shown that genetic and environmental factors play significant roles in the causation and progression of these anomalies. Environmental factors, such as teratogens and toxin mixtures, induce craniofacial anomalies are gaining heightened attention. Among experimental investigations, the use of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has been increasing. A major reason for the increased use is that the zebrafish boast a simple craniofacial structure, and facial morphogenesis is readily observed due to external fertilization and transparent embryo, making it a valuable platform to screen and identify environmental factors involved in the etiology of craniofacial skeletal malformation. This review provides an update on harmful effects from exposure to environmental chemicals, involving metallic elements, nanoparticles, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and pharmaceutical formulations on craniofacial skeletal development in zebrafish embryos. The collected data provide a better understanding for induction of craniofacial skeletal anomalies and for development of better prevention strategies.

Authors: Wenlong Huang, Tianjie Wu, William W Au, Kusheng Wu
; Full Source: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) 2021 Jun 7;286:117541. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117541.