Presentation_1_Importance of Toxicokinetics to Assess the Utility of Zebrafish Larvae as Model for Psychoactive Drug Screening Using Meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) as Example.PDF

The number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) increases rapidly, harming society and fuelling the need for alternative testing strategies. These should allow the ever-increasing number of drugs to be tested more effectively for their toxicity and psychoactive effects. One proposed strategy is to complement rodent models with zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae. Yet, our understanding of the toxicokinetics in this model, owing to the waterborne drug exposure and the distinct physiology of the fish, is incomplete. We here explore the toxicokinetics and behavioral effects of an NPS, meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), in zebrafish larvae. Uptake kinetics of mCPP, supported by toxicokinetic modeling, strongly suggested the existence of active transport processes. Internal distribution showed a dominant accumulation in the eye, implying that in zebrafish, like in mammals, melanin could serve as a binding site for basic drugs. We confirmed this by demonstrating significantly lower drug accumulation in two types of hypo-pigmented fish. Comparison of the elimination kinetics between mCPP and previously characterized cocaine demonstrated that drug affinities to melanin in zebrafish vary depending on the structure of the test compound. As expected from mCPP-elicited responses in rodents and humans, zebrafish larvae displayed hypoactive behavior. However, significant differences were seen between zebrafish and rodents with regard to the concentration-dependency of the behavioral response and the comparability of tissue levels, corroborating the need to consider the organism-internal distribution of the chemical to allow appropriate dose modeling while evaluating effects and concordance between zebrafish and mammals. Our results highlight commonalities and differences of mammalian versus the fish model in need of further exploration.