Flubendazole exposure disrupts neural development and function of zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio)

Authors: Jin Kim, Junpil Bang, Bokyeong Ryu, C-Yoon Kim, and Jae-Hak Park 

Science of The Total Environment, 6 July 2023

Scientists use Axion’s Maestro MEA platform to explore electrophysiological neural function in vitro in zebrafish models exposed to the antihelminth flubendazole.  

Flubendazole (FBZ) is a widely used antiparasitic drug in animals and humans and has also been studied as a cancer therapeutic. This widespread use has resulted in increased environmental exposure, but neurodevelopmental effects have not been well characterized. In this study, scientists use a multiplatform approach including Axion’s Maestro microelectrode array (MEA) system to explore the effects of flubendazole on neural development in vitro using zebrafish models. MEA results found impaired electrophysiological neural function including decreases in LFP rate, burst frequency, network burst frequency, and synchrony. Other results demonstrated concentration-dependent impacts on survival, hatching, heartbeat, and developmental irregularities. Overall, the authors’ findings offer new insights into the impact of flubendazole and suggest “the need for risk prevention strategies and therapeutic approaches to address the environmental toxicity of benzimidazole anthelmintics.”