Immunotoxicological effects of insecticides in exposed fishes

Changwon Yang, Whasun Lim, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Biologically active compounds used in agriculture that develop near aquatic environments easily spill into rivers or lakes. As a result, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides are observed worldwide in aquatic environments and accumulated in aquatic organism. Many insecticides, including organochlorine and organophosphate, have long been banned long ago because of their high persistence and non-target toxicity. However, previous studies have shown that persistent pesticides remain in aquatic organisms. The immune system is the first defense mechanism against exposure to persistent organic pollutants or pesticides that have been released into the aquatic environment. Many insecticides have been reported to cause immunotoxicity, which is represented by alteration of phagocytic and lysozyme activity. Recent studies show that immunotoxicity by insecticides exerts a more complex mechanism in fish. Insecticides induce immunotoxic effects, such as the release of inflammatory cytokines from head kidney macrophages and inhibition of immune cell proliferation in fish, which can lead to death in severe cases. Even currently used pesticides, such as pyrethroid, with low bioaccumulation have been shown to induce immunotoxicological effects in fish when exposed continuously. Therefore, this review describes the types and bioaccumulation of insecticides that cause immunotoxicity and detailed immunotoxicological mechanisms in fish tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109064
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT(MSIT) (No. 2021R1A2C2005841 and 2021R1C1C1009807 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Pyrethroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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