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Event: 1643

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Altered, Visual function

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Altered, Visual function

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
vision trait eye functional change

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
retinaldehyde dehydrogenase inhibition,population decline KeyEvent Young Jun Kim (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome Under Development
Inhibition of Fyna leading to increased mortality KeyEvent Vid Modic (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite
TPOi retinal layer structure AdverseOutcome Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite
TPOi eye size AdverseOutcome Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite
TPOi photoreceptor patterning AdverseOutcome Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
zebrafish Danio rerio NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
Embryo High
Juvenile Moderate

Sex Applicability

The authors must select from one of the following: Male, female, mixed, asexual, third gender, hermaphrodite, or unspecific. More help
Term Evidence

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

The decrease in visual function can have different aspects, such as loss of chromatic vision, changes in eye movements, differences in sensitivity to light, but also changes in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) that may be related to a decrease in visual function (Strauss, 2005). The visual system is highly variable from one species to another, and this variability is a key factor influencing animal behaviour (Corral-López et al., 2017).

Decreases in these visual functions can have a strong impact on behaviour, leading to changes in individual response and abilities in the environment, including, for example, perception of food or avoidance of predators. Variation in the visual system can also influence learning tasks when visual stimuli are used (Corral-López et al., 2017).

Some studies detect visual impairments, such as an optokinetic response decrease and increase of light preference of zebrafish larvae after treatment with the endocrine disruptor propylthiouracil (Baumann et al 2016 ), after chronic dietary selenomethionine exposure (Raine et al 2016), exposure to PCBs (Zhang et al, 2015) or deiodinase knockdown (Houbrechts et al 2016, Vancamp et al 2018).


How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Studies of spatial and temporal aspects of the visual system have focused on assessments of optomotor (whole body swimming) or optokinetic (eye movement) responses. These responses are unconditioned optical and motor reactions including: 

  • Opto Kinetic response, OKR (similar protocol for Rat/mice (Segura et al., 2018), fish (Zou et al., 2010) and humans (Kang and Wildsoet, 2016)). The OKR is a visually-mediated assay in which an individual will respond to alternating black and white stripes by exhibiting eye saccades, eye movements without coordinated body movements, in the same direction as rotating stripes. An eye saccade relies on the ability to rapidly move the eye from focusing on one external target to the next in a repeated manner (Magnuson et al., 2020). Optokinetic tracking has a robust performance and does not require training the animal, allowing for the quick assessment (and at earlier ages) of visual features such as visual acuity (VA) and contrast sensitivity (CS)11–14. However, the main disadvantage of optokinetic tracking is that it is a subjective method in which the decision about whether the animal is performing the optokinetic tracking or not is made by an experimenter (Segura et al., 2018).

  • Opto Motor Reponses, OMR. OMR tracks the ability of the fish to swim in the direction of a perceived motion when presented with a whole-field stimulus (Neuhauss, 2003), (Gould et al., 2017)).

  • Light-dark transition or vision startle response: reaction to change in light intensity (light sensitivity) (Brastrom et al., 2019)

  • Black-white preference test (Baumann et al., 2016)

  • Diverse Mobility assay including Tracking, touch-evoked escape-response assays, Swirl assays, locomotion assay, swimming activity, phototactic swimming activity assay, induced locomotor response (LLR) (Baumann et al., 2016; Gao et al., 2015; Zhao et al., 2014))

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help
  1. Taxonomic applicability

Visual function decrease can be evaluated in wide range of species including mammals, amphibians, fish and humans. Evaluation of these visual function modification change according to the species and its environment.

  1. Life-stage applicability

Vision plays a crucial role in the early life stages of most species, as timing of eye development and establishment of functional vision is essential for perception of food or avoidance of predators for example (Carvalho et al., 2002).The first visual responses based on retinal functionality appear around 70 hpf in zebrafish (Schmitt and Dowling 1999). It is plausible to assume that alterations of the eye structure would result in altered visual function across all life stages, but such alterations are most likely to occur during the development of the normal eye structure, which occurs in the embryo-eleutheroembryo phase. Some studies have also shown a decrease in vision related to age (Brastrom et al., 2019; Martínez-Roda et al., 2016; Segura et al., 2018) including on visual acuity, visual fields, colour vision and dark adaptation, are well documented (Hennelly et al, 1998).

  1. Sex applicability

Sex seems not relevant for most of the visual function decreases observed in different studies. Differences according to the sex of the individuals have however been reported concerning the basic visual capacities (e.g. color perception, contrast sensitivity, visual acuity, motion perception,...) but also concerning the frequency of certain diseases influencing these diminished visual functions, notably in humans (Vanston and Strother, 2017).


Evidence for Perturbation by Stressor

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. For KEs that are designated as an AO, one additional field of information (regulatory significance of the AO) should be completed, to the extent feasible. If the KE is being described is not an AO, simply indicate “not an AO” in this section.A key criterion for defining an AO is its relevance for regulatory decision-making (i.e., it corresponds to an accepted protection goal or common apical endpoint in an established regulatory guideline study). For example, in humans this may constitute increased risk of disease-related pathology in a particular organ or organ system in an individual or in either the entire or a specified subset of the population. In wildlife, this will most often be an outcome of demographic significance that has meaning in terms of estimates of population sustainability. Given this consideration, in addition to describing the biological state associated with the AO, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to describe regulatory examples using this AO. More help


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Baumann, L., Ros, A., Rehberger, K., Neuhauss, S. C. F., & Segner, H. (2016). Thyroid disruption in zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae: Different molecular response patterns lead to impaired eye development and visual functions. Aquatic Toxicology, 172, 44–55.

Brastrom, L.K., Scott, C.A., Dawson, D. V., Slusarski, D.C., 2019. A High-Throughput Assay for Congenital and Age-Related Eye Diseases in Zebrafish. Biomedicines 7, 28.

Carvalho, P.S.M., Noltie, D.B., Tillitt, D.E., 2002. Ontogenetic improvement of visual function in the medaka Oryzias latipes based on an optomotor testing system for larval and adult fish. Anim. Behav. 64, 1–10.

Corral-López, A., Garate-Olaizola, M., Buechel, S.D., Kolm, N., Kotrschal, A., 2017. On the role of body size, brain size, and eye size in visual acuity. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 71.

Gao, D., Wu, M., Wang, C., Wang, Y., Zuo, Z., 2015. Chronic exposure to low benzo[a]pyrene level causes neurodegenerative disease-like syndromes in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Aquat. Toxicol.

Houbrechts, A. M., Vergauwen, L., Bagci, E., Van houcke, J., Heijlen, M., Kulemeka, B., Hyde, D. R., Knapen, D., & Darras, V. M. (2016). Deiodinase knockdown affects zebrafish eye development at the level of gene expression, morphology and function. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 424, 81–93.

Raine, J. C., Lallemand, L., Pettem, C. M., & Janz, D. M. (2016). Effects of Chronic Dietary Selenomethionine Exposure on the Visual System of Adult and F1 Generation Zebrafish (Danio rerio). Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 97(3), 331–336.

Vancamp, P., Bourgeois, N. M. A., Houbrechts, A. M., & Darras, V. M. (2019). Knockdown of the thyroid hormone transporter MCT8 in chicken retinal precursor cells hampers early retinal development and results in a shift towards more UV/blue cones at the expense of green/red cones. Experimental Eye Research,178(September 2018), 135–147.

Zhang, X., Hong, Q., Yang, L., Zhang, M., Guo, X., Chi, X., & Tong, M. (2015). PCB1254 exposure contributes to the abnormalities of optomotor responses and influence of the photoreceptor cell development in zebrafish larvae. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 118, 133–138.