Measure toxic effects of a compound

Why Use Zebrafish?

Zebrafish are increasingly recognized as an indispensable tool in toxicity testing. For companies seeking to test acute toxicity and teratogenicity, assays in larval zebrafish provide predictive answers within a few short weeks.


Studies have confirmed that mammalian and zebrafish toxicity profiles are strikingly similar. In addition, zebrafish organs are similar to human in cellular composition, function, signaling, and response to injury as well as the cellular processes that mediate organ-specific diseases. Many genes are highly conserved between humans and zebrafish, making them a useful system to study the basic mechanisms of organ-specific diseases, such as heart, liver or neurological disorders.

Time Saving:

Zebrafish develop rapidly; all of their major organ systems become fully formed during the early larval stages, making it a recognized standard model to assess organ toxicity. Even at an early stage, zebrafish show concordance at a metabolic pathway level, confirming its utility as a model to screen the toxic potential of compounds on major organs *.

  • Zebrafish Acute Toxicity Study Demonstrates Concordance with Rat Fetal Embryotoxicity.

Our Offering

InVivo Biosystems provides services and expertise across the zebrafish workflow including genetic modification, molecular characterization, and behavioral testing. Our toxicity testing is performed using automation and customized software for data collection and analysis. Our main testing services include:

Acute Toxicity & Teratogenicity Screening

What: Acute developmental toxicity studies in zebrafish can predict mammalian exposure levels associated with embryotoxicity and teratogenicity. 

Goal/Result: By testing a range of concentrations, we define concentrations such as the LD50, NOEL, and MNLD. 

How: Our team tests the teratogenicity of compounds on a battery of morphological development endpoints, as well as two behavioral outcomes, for zebrafish embryos between 24 and 120 hours post fertilization (hpf). This protocol is more comprehensive than the set of 4 endpoints prescribed by the OECD FET 236.

What's included?

All toxicity screening data is collected in an automated, high-throughput workflow that combines experimental endpoints collected into a developmental hazard profile report, while retaining individual animal-level details and providing raw data files for user analysis.

  • Assessed at 24 hpf: mortality, developmental progression, spontaneous movement, notochord development.
  • Assessed at 120hpf: total mortality, body axis (body axis non-linearity, eye edema, yolk sac edema and pericardial edema and brain malformation), otic vesicle, pectoral fin, caudal fin, pigmentation, blood circulation, swim bladder formation, not present or not inflated.
  • Embryo Photomotor Response. EPR is used as an early, rapid and sensitive predictor of generalized adverse outcomes later in life, not restricted to behavioral endpoints. The EPR assay is used as an early sensor of chemical developmental hazard at 22-24 hpf. 
  • Larval photomotor response behavior. LPR can reveal neuromuscular effects of compounds that may not be detected with morphological malformations. At 120 hpf (5 days post fertilization) zebrafish are free swimming larvae and the photomotor response assayed total movement (swim distance) in response to multiple light -> dark transitions. 

Molecular Testing

What: We will perform Gene Expression Studies to characterize mechanisms of action. 

Goal/Result: Provide mechanistic insight into toxicity responses in developing zebrafish at a whole transcriptome level to deliver a high depth, high resolution analysis of the underlying biology of your compound of interest.

How: Perform single embryo RNA-seq analysis on a range of conditions, beginning at exposure and RNA isolation to sequencing and bioinformatic analysis, in a high throughput, automated workflow.

Other Testing Services

  • Embryo Acute Toxicity Test

    Determine the acute or lethal toxicity of chemicals on embryonic stages of fish (Danio rerio).

  • Early-life Stage Toxicity Test

    Determine the lethal and sub-lethal effects of chemicals on the early life stages of the fish tested.

  • Zebrafish behavioral phenotyping

    Assess photomotor response, measure anxiety behaviors, or understand learning and memory mechanism.

Our Process

Understand Your Goal

We will set up a 30-minute call with you to understand your needs. During this call, we will define the scope of your project, answer your practical questions and help you assess whether our service is a good fit for you.

Create A Personalized Catalog

After we decide on the scope of the project, we will create a proposal that includes cost and time estimate for each experiment proposed. You will be able to personalize your project plan.

Finalize Your Project Design

We will send you a final statement of work and payment schedule. Once we receive your first PO, we will start the experiments and give you a defined timeline for your project.

Report Out
Maintain Clarity And Transparency

We will keep you updated every two weeks on the status of your project. At the end of your project, we provide you with a report that includes comprehensive findings and key takeaways.


Ready to connect with us to learn more about working with us on toxicity testing?

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