Zebrafish Immunotoxicology Assays

Zebrafish Immunotoxicology Assays

Immunotoxicity means any adverse effects on the structure or function of the immune system that result from exposure to xenobiotics including pharmaceuticals. Immunotoxicity can be induced either directly or indirectly. Direct immunotoxicity is caused by the effects of chemicals on components of the immune system, leading to immunostimulation or immunosuppression, whereas indirect immunotoxicity refers to the specific immune response to a compound itself or to a self-antigen altered by the compound, resulting in hypersensitivity or autoimmunity. The assessment of direct immunotoxicity is a key component of the overall toxicological investigation during the safety assessment of chemicals and food additives and the preclinical phase of drug development. Moreover, environmental stresses caused by environmental toxicants often increase an organism's susceptibility to disease, and there is considerable evidence that this phenomenon is owing to environmental toxicant effects on the immune response. Many experiments have demonstrated the utility of zebrafish models for immunotoxicity studies.

Compared to another in vivo model, zebrafish have a highly developed immune system and the signaling factors required for immune response are similar in fish and mammals. Thus, the knowledge obtained from zebrafish can perfectly bridge the gap between in vitro model and in vivo model. Zebrafish utilize the phagocytic activity of macrophages and neutrophils to suppress infections in the same way humans do. Transgenic zebrafish lines in which macrophages and neutrophils are tagged with fluorescent proteins allow detailed real-time studies of phagocyte migration to sites of infection or inflammation. Therefore, the zebrafish model has become increasingly popular for use in studies of immunotoxicology.

Our Immunotoxicology Assessment in Zebrafish

With years of experience and advanced technologies, Creative Biogene has developed several zebrafish immunotoxicology assessment methods to detect compounds with specific toxicity for the immune system and to screen new anti-inflammatory drugs. Taking advantage of zebrafish embryo transparency, we can test the toxicity of pharmacological and cosmetic compounds to the innate and adaptive immune system by quantifying these cell populations.

  • Embryo general toxicity test
  • Analysis of locomotion behavior
  • Quantitative real-time PCR analysis
  • Quantification of innate immune cells
  • Phagocyte population analysis
  • Cytokine profile assays
  • The inflammatory genes expression analysis
  • Oxidative stress markers analysis

Our zebrafish immunotoxicology studies in high-throughput systems can provide important insights into underlying mechanisms of toxicity. Contact us to learn more about our immunotoxicology assessment services.


  • PLANCHART, Antonio, et al. Advancing toxicology research using in vivo high throughput toxicology with small fish models. Altex, 2016, 33.4: 435.
  • Volger O L, et al. Application of 'omics' to immunotoxicology: from mechanisms of action to alternative methods. Toxicology Letters, 2013, 221:S31.
  • Xiaole, Yang, et al. Developmental neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity induced by graphene oxide in zebrafish embryos. Environmental Toxicology, 2018.
  • Xiong G, et al. Immunotoxicity and transcriptome analysis of zebrafish embryos in response to glufosinate-ammonium exposure. Chemosphere, 2019, 236:124423.

For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.

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