Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Display All Information

Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8609
Title: The influence of heart developmental anatomy on cardiotoxicity-based adverse outcome pathways in fish
Author: J. P. Incardona, N. L. Scholz
Publication Year: 2016
Journal: Aquatic Toxicology

The developing fish heart is vulnerable to a diverse array of toxic chemical contaminants in freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats.  Globally occurring examples of cardiotoxic agents include dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  The disruption of cardiac function during the process of heart morphogenesis can lead to adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) that can negatively affect fish survival at hatching as well as later life stages.  Proximal impacts include cardiogenic fluid accumulation (edema) and defects of the body axis and jaw that preclude larval feeding.  More subtle changes in heart development can produce permanent structural defects in the heart that reduce cardiac output and swimming performance in older fish.  In recent decades, the presence of edema in fish embryos and larvae has been a very common bioindicator of cardiotoxicity.  However, the different ways that edema forms in fish from different habitats (i.e., freshwater vs. marine, pelagic vs. demersal) has not been rigorously examined.  Oil spills are an important source of PAHs in fish spawning areas worldwide, and research in this area is revealing how patterns of cardiogenic edema are shaped by species-specific differences in developmental anatomy and ionoregulatory physiology.  Here we review the visible evidence for circulatory disruption across nine freshwater and marine fish species, exposed to crude oils from different parts of the world.  We focus on the close interconnectedness of the cardiovascular and osmoregulatory systems during early development, and corresponding implications for fish in hyperosmotic and hyposmotic habitats.  Finally, we suggest there may be poorly understood adverse outcomes pathways related to osmotic gradients and water movement within embryos, the latter causing extreme shifts in tissue osmolality.

Official Citation:

Incardona, J.P. and Scholz, N.L. 2016. The influence of heart developmental anatomy on cardiotoxicity-based adverse outcome pathways in fish. Aquatic Toxicology, 177:515-525.