Physiological and behavioural impacts of Pacific ciguatoxin-1 (P-CTX-1) on marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma)

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

16 Scopus Citations
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  • Yim Ling Mak
  • Chih-Ning Liu
  • Paul K.S. Lam
  • Jinping Cheng


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-790
Journal / PublicationJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017


Ciguatoxins (CTXs) are natural biotoxins produced by benthic dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus, which are bioaccumulated and biotransformed along food chains in coral ecosystems. They are neurotoxins that activate voltage-gated sodium channels and disrupt ion conductance in the excitable tissues. Pacific ciguatoxin-1 (P-CTX-1) is the most prevalent and potent CTX congener present in fishes from the Pacific Ocean. In this study, P-CTX-1 was administrated to larval marine medaka (2 h post-hatch) via microinjection. Exposure to P-CTX-1 at sub-ppb levels led to adverse behavioural changes, altered physiological performances and reduced survivability of the larval marine medaka as early as 24 h after exposure. P-CTX-1 decreased the rate of heartbeat and locomotion of the exposed larvae, probably owing to a series of physiological processes and morphological changes such as pericardial oedema, failure of swim bladder inflation and spinal curvature. The exposed larval marine medaka also demonstrated reduced, delayed and paralyzed responses to external stimulations. This may render them more susceptible to predation. P-CTX-1 could be effectively distributed from the yolk sac to all parts of the fish body, including head and trunk, 24 h after exposure. Repeated low-dose P-CTX-1 exposure resulted in larval mortality comparable to that of a single high-dose exposure.

Research Area(s)

  • Behaviour, Cardiotoxicity, Ciguatoxins, Locomotion, Marine medaka