Di-butyl Phthalate (DBP) Induces Defects During Embryonic Eye Development in Zebrafish

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Di-butyl phthalate (DBP) is a phthalate ester (PAEs) added during the manufacturing of plastics to make them stronger, yet more pliable. DBP is noncovalently bound to plastics resulting in leaching into the environment. Concerning concentrations of DBP have been noted in surface and groundwater, aquatic ecosystems, soil and atmospheric environments globally. Global production of phthalates and thus concomitant exposure has increased over the years making studies on the ecological and environmental safety needed. Most of the literature on DBP focuses on the endocrine disrupting properties of phthalate esters, but the developmental toxicity of DBP is an understudied area. Here, we treat gastrula staged zebrafish embryos with environmentally relevant concentrations of DBP (2.5 µM). We find defects in eye development at 96 h post fertilization including a decrease in the size of the lens and retina in DBP-treated embryos. Defects in eye vascularization as well as loss of the optic nerve and optic tectum were also noted. Here we conclude that exposure to environmentally relevant doses of DBP during early embryonic development is toxic to eye development.


At the time that this article was written Sophie Barbagallo, Cassidy Baldauf, and Emily Orosco were undergraduate students in the Biology Department at Sacred Heart University.

This research was supported by Sacred Heart University.

Published online: 13 November 2021.



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