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Reduced, Posterior swim bladder inflation leads to Reduced, Swimming performance
Key Event Relationship Overview
AOPs Referencing Relationship
|AOP Name||Adjacency||Weight of Evidence||Quantitative Understanding||Point of Contact||Author Status||OECD Status|
|Deiodinase 2 inhibition leading to increased mortality via reduced posterior swim bladder inflation||adjacent||Moderate||Low||Dries Knapen (send email)||Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome||WPHA/WNT Endorsed|
|Deiodinase 1 inhibition leading to increased mortality via reduced posterior swim bladder inflation||adjacent||Moderate||Low||Dries Knapen (send email)||Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome||WPHA/WNT Endorsed|
|fathead minnow||Pimephales promelas||Moderate||NCBI|
|bluefin tuna||Thunnus thynnus||Moderate||NCBI|
|Dicentrarchus labrax||Dicentrarchus labrax||Moderate||NCBI|
|Perca flavescens||Perca flavescens||Moderate||NCBI|
|Salmo salar||Salmo salar||Moderate||NCBI|
Life Stage Applicability
Key Event Relationship Description
Effects on swim bladder inflation can alter swimming performance and buoyancy of fish, which is essential for predator avoidance, energy sparing, migration, reproduction and feeding behaviour, resulting in increased mortality.
Evidence Collection Strategy
Evidence Supporting this KER
The weight of evidence supporting a direct linkage between these two KEs, i.e. reduced posterior swim bladder inflation and reduced swimming performance, is moderate.
The posterior chamber of the swim bladder has a function in regulating the buoyancy of fish (Roberston et al., 2007). Fish rely on the lipid and gas content in their body to regulate their position within the water column, with the latter being more efficient at increasing body buoyancy. Therefore, fish with functional swim bladders have no problem supporting their body (Brix 2002), while it is highly likely that impaired inflation severely impacts swimming performance, as has been suggested previously (Bagci et al., 2015; Hagenaars et al., 2014). Fish without a functional swim bladder are severely disadvantaged, making the likelihood of surviving smaller. Stoyek et al. (2011) showed that the posterior chamber volume is maintained at a stable level at varying pressures corresponding to varying depths through gas exchange with the anteror chamber.
Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
Robertson et al., (2007) reported that the swim bladder only becomes functional as a buoyancy regulator when it is fully developed into a double-chambered swim bladder. This implies that effects on posterior chamber inflation would not directly result in effects on swimming capacity. However, it was also reported that gas in the swim bladder increases the buoyancy of zebrafish larvae already just after initial inflation, while it would be actively controlled only after 28–30 d post hatch. Therefore, an effect on swimming capacity is still likely.
Exposure of zebrafish embryos to 6-propylthiouracil (PTU) resulted in an effect on posterior chamber inflation, but did not result in a direct effect on the swimming distance in the larval stage (Stinckens et al., unpublished). Vergauwen et al. (2015) reported decreased swimming activity as well as impaired posterior chamber inflation after exposure to phenanthrene, a non-polar narcotic, but there was no significant difference between swimming activity of larvae with our without inflated posterior chamber within the same treatment. Possibly, the impact of baseline toxicity on respiration and energy metabolism was more important in decreasing swimming activity compared to impaired inflation of the posterior chamber.
It has been difficult to unambiguously attribute reduced swimming activity to impaired inflation of the posterior chamber, since swimming activity can be altered via different modes of action including altered energy metabolism, altered brain development and thus swimming behaviour. For example, the swimming activity of zebrafish larvae was reduced after 5 days of exposure to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), while they had inflated posterior chambers.
Known modulating factors
Relations between reduced swim bladder inflation and reduced swimming performance are currently based on a binary observation of swim bladder inflation. Several studies have shown that larvae with inflated swim bladders have higher swiming activity compared to larvae that failed to inflate the swim bladder. No direct relationship between swim bladder surface (quantitative measure of swim bladder inflation) and swimming performance has been reported yet.
The data of Michiels et al. (2017) and Stinckens et al. (unpublished) on swim bladder inflation and swimming activity have been collected on the same day. The process of posterior chamber inflation normally occurs during a specific developmental time frame, resulting in limited flexibility to explore temporal concordance. Based on the biologically plausible direct importance of swim bladder functionality to swimming performance, no lag is expected.
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
Domain of Applicability
Taxonomic: Importance of proper functioning of the swim bladder for supporting natural swimming behaviour can be plausibly assumed to be generally applicable to fish possessing a posterior chamber. Evidence exists for a wide variety of freshwater and marine fish species.
Life stage: This KER is only applicable to early embryonic development, which is the period where the posterior swim bladder chamber inflates. To what extent fish can survive and swim with partly inflated swim bladders during later life stages is unknown.
Sex: This KE/KER is plausibly applicable to both sexes. Sex differences are not often investigated in tests using early life stages of fish. In Medaka, sex can be morphologically distinguished as soon as 10 days post fertilization. Females appear more susceptible to thyroid‐induced swim bladder dysfunction compared with males (Godfrey et al., 2019). In zebrafish and fathead minnow, it is currently unclear whether sex-related differences are important in determining the magnitude of the changes in this KE/KER. Zebrafish are undifferentiated gonochorists since both sexes initially develop an immature ovary (Maack and Segner, 2003). Immature ovary development progresses until approximately the onset of the third week. Later, in female fish immature ovaries continue to develop further, while male fish undergo transformation of ovaries into testes. Final transformation into testes varies among male individuals, however finishes usually around 6 weeks post fertilization. Since the posterior chamber inflates around 5 days post fertilization in zebrafish, when sex differentiation has not started yet, sex differences are expected to play a minor role. Fathead minnow gonad differentiation also occurs during larval development. Fathead minnows utilize a XY sex determination strategy and markers can be used to genotype sex in life stages where the sex is not yet clearly defined morphologically (Olmstead et al., 2011). Ovarian differentiation starts at 10 dph followed by rapid development (Van Aerle et al., 2004). At 25 dph germ cells of all stages up to the primary oocytes stage were present and at 120 dph, vitellogenic oocytes were present. The germ cells (spermatogonia) of the developing testes only entered meiosis around 90–120 dph. Mature testes with spermatozoa are present around 150 dph. Since the posterior chamber inflates around 6 days post fertilization (1 dph) in fathead minnows, sex differences are expected to play a minor role in the current AOP.
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