Two common mild analgesics have no effect on general endocrine mediated endpoints in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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Mild analgesics such as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and acetaminophen (APAP) exert their pain-relieving effect in humans by inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandins play key roles in developmental and reproductive processes in vertebrates, and in recent years, it has been suggested that weak analgesics might also act as endocrine disrupters. In a set of experiments we investigated if ASA and APAP affect well-established endocrine endpoints in zebrafish (Danio rerio), which is a commonly used model organism in the investigation of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Zebrafish were exposed to APAP (0.22, 2.3, and 30 mg L − 1) or ASA (0.2, 0.5, 1.7, and 8.2 mg L − 1) from hatch to sexual maturity in a test design resembling the OECD Fish Sexual Development Test. No effects on sex ratio and vitellogenin levels were observed. Adult zebrafish were exposed to high concentrations (mg L − 1) of ASA or APAP for eight or 14 days. ASA reduced the levels of prostaglandin E 2, but had no effect on the concentration of 11-ketotestosterone and vitellogenin. Overall, ASA decrease prostaglandin E 2 concentrations, but well-established endpoints for endocrine disruption in zebrafish are generally not affected by aquatic exposure neither during development nor adulthood. According to the WHO/IPCS definition of an endocrine disrupter, the present results do not define APAP and ASA as endocrine disrupters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology
Pages (from-to)63-70
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Acetaminophen/administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic/administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/administration & dosage
  • Aspirin/administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/drug effects
  • Larva/drug effects
  • Ovum/drug effects
  • Prostaglandins/metabolism
  • Sex Ratio
  • Vitellogenins/genetics
  • Zebrafish


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