Use of the Zebrafish Larvae as a Model to Study Cigarette Smoke Condensate Toxicity

Published: 12-18-2014 In Publication


Larvae were loaded into 96 well plates at 72 hpf and treated with a single condensate as described above. Larval activity was assessed between 120 and 126 hpf by video tracking with a Viewpoint Life Sciences Zebrabox and their activity was monitored using the Viewpoint video tracking system and software (Viewpoint Life Sciences Inc., Montreal, QC, Canada). The plate temperature was maintained in the Zebrabox chamber at 28°C by partial immersion in a recirculating water bath. All experiments consisted of 20 min of acclimation in the dark followed by 4–10 min cycles containing a 5 min light and 5 min dark phase (60 min total). Changes in activity were analyzed using GraphPad-Prism software. Duplicate dilution series experiments were run on two separate days (n = 12/concentration/day).


The smoking of tobacco continues to be the leading cause of premature death worldwide and is linked to the development of a number of serious illnesses including heart disease, respiratory diseases, stroke and cancer. Currently, cell line based toxicity assays are typically used to gain information on the general toxicity of cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, they provide little information regarding the complex disease-related changes that have been linked to smoking. The ethical concerns and high cost associated with mammalian studies have limited their widespread use for in vivo toxicological studies of tobacco. The zebrafish has emerged as a low-cost, high-throughput, in vivo model in the study of toxicology. In this study, smoke condensates from 2 reference cigarettes and 6 Canadian brands of cigarettes with different design features were assessed for acute, developmental, cardiac, and behavioural toxicity (neurotoxicity) in zebrafish larvae. By making use of this multifaceted approach we have developed an in vivo model with which to compare the toxicity profiles of smoke condensates from cigarettes with different design features. This model system may provide insights into the development of smoking related disease and could provide a cost-effective, high-throughput platform for the future evaluation of tobacco products.