Chronic exposure to butyl-paraben causes photosensitivity disruption and memory impairment in adult zebrafish

Jiwon L. Kim, Seong Soon Kim, Kyu Seok Hwang, Hae Chul Park, Sung Hee Cho, Myung Ae Bae, Ki Tae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Limited studies on neurotoxicity following chronic exposure to butyl‑paraben (BuP) have been conducted. In this study, neurobehavior in zebrafish adults was assessed using the novel tank test, photomotor response test, and T-maze test after exposure to BuP for 28 days at concentrations of 0, 0.01, 0.1, and 1.0 mg/L. To comprehensively understand the underlying molecular perturbations in the brain, alterations in transcripts, neurotransmitters, and neurosteroids were measured. We found that BuP penetrated the blood-brain barrier and impaired neurobehavior in photosensitivity at 1.0 mg/L and in memory at 0.1 and 1.0 mg/L. RNA-seq analysis showed that phototransduction, tight junctions, and neuroactive ligand receptor activity were significantly affected, which explains the observed abnormal neurobehaviors. Neurosteroid analysis revealed that BuP increased cortisol levels in a concentration-dependent manner and specifically reduced allopregnanolone levels at all tested concentrations, suggesting that cortisol and allopregnanolone are significant neurosteroid markers associated with photosensitivity and memory deficits. Collectively, we demonstrated that BuP can cross the blood-brain and modulate the levels of transcripts, associated with phototransduction and circadian rhythm, and neurosteroidal cortisol and allopregnanolone, resulting in abnormal neurobehavioral responses to light stimulation and learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106279
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through Technology Development Project for Safety Management of Household Chemical Products, funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) ( 2020002960007 , NTIS-1485017184 ), and by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (Grants No. NRF-2020R1A6A1A03042742 ). This work was also partially supported by project of Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (SI2231-40), Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Behavior
  • Butyl-paraben
  • Neurosteroid
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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