Characterization of Synergistic Embryotoxicity of Nickel and Buprofezin in Zebrafish

Multiple pollutants, usually at low levels, coexist and may interact in the environment. It is therefore important to analyze the toxicity of mixtures of coexisting chemicals to evaluate the potential ecological risk. Concern regarding the co-occurrence and combined bioeffects of heavy metals and organic insecticides in aquatic settings has existed for many years, but a clear understanding of the interactions between and potential combined toxicity of these chemicals remains elusive. In the present study, the combined effects of the heavy metal nickel (NiSO4) and insect growth regulator buprofezin on the induction of embryo toxicity in zebrafish were assessed. By applying nonlinear regression to the concentration–response data with each of the chemicals using the Hill and Langmuir functions and computing the predictions using the model of concentration addition (CA), we confirmed that NiSO4 and buprofezin acted together to produce synergistic embryotoxicity in zebrafish. Subsequently, we further found that the combination of NiSO4 and buprofezin formed a complex that facilitated the uptake of nickel (Ni) and buprofezin by the embryos. Following this, we clarified that an oxidative mechanism of the complex might underlie the synergistic embryotoxicity of NiSO4 and buprofezin.