Dries Knapen

Dries Knapen
University of Antwerp | UA · Department of Veterinary Sciences

PhD

About

95
Publications
21,453
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Introduction
I am the head of the Zebrafishlab of the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Zebrafishlab is a joint laboratory consisting of members of the Departments of Veterinary Sciences and Biology. Our research covers different aspects of zebrafish biology, including reproduction, embryonic development, zebrafish adult ecotoxicological tests, early life stage tests and transgenerational tests.

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
Historically, the prediction of reproductive and early developmental toxicity has largely relied on the use of animals. The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework forms a basis for the development of new non-animal test methods. It also provides biological context for mechanistic information from existing assays. However, a single AOP may not capt...
Article
Full-text available
Based on the results of a SETAC-sponsored Horizon Scanning exercise focused on advancing the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework, the development of guidance related to AOP network development was identified as a critical need. This not only included questions focusing directly on AOP networks, but also on related topics such as mixture toxicit...
Article
A growing number of environmental pollutants are known to adversely affect the thyroid hormone system, and major gaps have been identified in the tools available for the identification, and the hazard and risk assessment of these thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals. We provide an example of how the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework and assoc...
Article
Full-text available
An adverse outcome pathway (AOP) is a description of the sequence of causally linked events, spanning multiple levels of biological organization, required to produce a toxic effect when an organism is exposed to a stressor such as a chemical. In essence, an AOP is a depiction of a complex toxicological process in a simplified step-wise, sequential...
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ERGO (EndocRine Guideline Optimization) is the acronym of a European Union-funded research and innovation action, that aims to break down the wall between mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrate regulatory testing of endocrine disruptors (EDs), by identifying, developing and aligning thyroid-related biomarkers and endpoints (B/E) for the linkage of...
Article
Introduction and background: Thyroid hormones (THs) are involved in the regulation of many important physiological and developmental processes, including vertebrate eye development. TH system disrupting chemicals (THSDCs) may have severe consequences, as proper functioning of the visual system is a key factor for survival in wildlife. However, the...
Article
Lipidomics analysis of zebrafish tissues has shown promising results to understand disease‐related outcomes of exposure to toxic substances at molecular level. However, knowledge about their lipidome is limited, as most untargeted studies only identify the lipids that are statistically significant in their setup. In this work, liquid chromatography...
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Metabolomics has achieved great progress over the last 20 years, and it is currently considered a mature research field. As a result, the number of applications in toxicology, biomarker, and drug discovery has also increased. Toxicometabolomics has emerged as a powerful strategy to provide complementary information to study molecular-level toxic ef...
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The adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework provides a practical means for organizing scientific knowledge that can be used to infer cause-effect relationships between stressor events and toxicity outcomes in intact organisms. It has reached wide acceptance as a tool to aid chemical safety assessment and regulatory toxicology by supporting a system...
Article
Non‐polar narcosis, also known as baseline toxicity, has been described as the minimal toxicity that an organic chemical may elicit based on its lipophilicity. While lethal effects of narcosis‐inducing chemicals (NICs) have been thoroughly investigated, knowledge of sublethal effects is still very limited. We investigated the effects of three well‐...
Article
A set of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) linking inhibition of thyroperoxidase and deiodinase to impaired swim bladder inflation in fish has recently been developed. These AOPs help to establish links between these thyroid hormone (TH) disrupting molecular events and adverse outcomes relevant to aquatic ecological risk assessment. Until now, very l...
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The effects of thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals (THDCs) on eye development of zebrafish were investigated. We expected THDC exposure to cause transcriptional changes of vision-related genes, which find their phenotypic anchoring in eye malformations and dysfunction, as observed in our previous studies. Zebrafish were exposed from 0 to 5 days po...
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In Europe, the toxicological safety of genetically modified (GM) crops is routinely evaluated using rodent feeding trials, originally designed for testing oral toxicity of chemical compounds. We aimed to develop and optimize methods for advancing the use of zebrafish feeding trials for the safety evaluation of GM crops, using maize as a case study....
Article
Fish (embryo) toxicity test guidelines are mostly based on aquatic exposures. However, in some cases, other exposure routes can be more practical and relevant. Micro‐injection into the yolk of fish embryos could offer a particular advantage for administering hydrophobic compounds, such as many endocrine disruptors. Single dose micro‐injection was c...
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The numbers of potential neurotoxicants in the environment are raising and pose a great risk for humans and the environment. Currently neurotoxicity assessment is mostly performed to predict and prevent harm to human populations. Despite all the efforts invested in the last years in developing novel in vitro or in silico test systems, in vivo tests...
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The zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo is currently explored as an alternative for developmental toxicity testing. As maternal metabolism is lacking in this model, knowledge of the disposition of xenobiotics during zebrafish organogenesis is pivotal in order to correctly interpret the outcome of teratogenicity assays. Therefore, the aim of this study w...
Article
Current efforts in chemical safety are focused on utilizing human in vitro or alternative animal data in biological pathway context. However, it remains unclear how biological pathways, and toxicology data developed in that context, can be used to quantitatively facilitate decision-making. The objective of this work is to determine if hypothesis te...
Article
The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis is known to play a crucial role in the development of teleost fish. However, knowledge of endogenous transcription profiles of thyroid-related genes in developing teleosts remains fragmented. We selected two model teleost species, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and the zebrafish (Danio rerio),...
Article
The adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework can be used to help support the development of alternative testing strategies aimed at predicting adverse outcomes caused by triggering specific toxicity pathways. In this paper, we present a case-study demonstrating the selection of alternative in chemico assays targeting the molecu- lar initiating event...
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Toxicological responses to stressors are more complex than the simple one biological perturbation to one adverse outcome model portrayed by individual adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). Consequently, the AOP framework was designed to facilitate de facto development of AOP networks that can aid understanding and prediction of pleiotropic and interacti...
Chapter
Fish are routinely used for evaluating aquatic toxicity to vertebrates to set environmental quality standards. Tests using early life-stages of fish are more cost-efficient compared to tests using adult fish while maintaining the physiological relevance of a vertebrate whole-organism test system. Ethical considerations are also a driver for the use...
Article
Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) are designed to provide a clear-cut mechanistic representation of critical toxicological effects that propagate over different layers of biological organization from the initial interaction of a chemical with a molecular target to an adverse outcome at the individual or population level. Adverse outcome pathways are...
Article
Our ability to conduct whole-organism toxicity tests to understand chemical safety has been outpaced by the synthesis of new chemicals for a wide variety of commercial applications. As a result, scientists and risk assessors are turning to mechanistically based studies to increase efficiencies in chemical risk assessment and making greater use of i...
Article
Mammalian liver microsomes are occasionally used as a metabolic activation system (MAS) to compensate for the low CYP-mediated bioactivation of drugs in zebrafish embryos, in the so-called mDarT. However, this MAS is embryotoxic and consequently zebrafish embryos are only exposed during a very limited developmental window. The main aim of this stud...
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In conjunction with the second International Environmental Omics Symposium (iEOS) conference, held at the University of Liverpool (UK) in September 2014, a workshop was held to bring together experts in toxicology and regulatory science from academia, government and industry. The purpose of the workshop was to review the specific roles that high-co...
Article
Inflation of the posterior and/or anterior swim bladder are processes previously demonstrated to be thyroid-hormone regulated. We investigated whether inhibition of deiodinases, which convert thyroxine (T4) to the more biologically-active form, 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), would impact swim bladder inflation. Two experiments were conducted using a...
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Accurately assessing the toxicity of complex, environmentally relevant mixtures remains an important challenge in ecotoxicology. The goal was to identify biological effects after exposure to environmental water samples and to determine whether the observed effects could be explained by the waterborne metal mixture found in the samples. Zebrafish em...
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Herbivorous insects evolved adaptive mechanisms to compensate for the presence of plant defensive protease inhibitors (PI) in their food. The underlying regulatory mechanisms of these compensatory responses remain largely elusive. In the current study, we investigated the initiation of this adaptive response in the migratory locust, Locusta migrato...
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The migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, is a serious agricultural pest and important insect model in the study of insect digestion and feeding behaviour. The gut is one of the primary interfaces between the insect and its environment. Nevertheless, knowledge on the gut transcriptome of L. migratoria is still very limited. Here, 48 802 expressed s...
Article
Because of the ever increasing complexity of environmental contamination profiles, there are limitations to the use of analytical pollutant measurements for monitoring and prioritization of watercourses. The potential of biomarkers has been debated for many years, especially in laboratory settings, but there is a need for studies evaluating these a...
Article
Disruption of the thyroid hormone (TH) system, an important mode of action, can lead to ecologically relevant adverse outcomes, especially during embryonic development. The present study characterizes the effects of disruption of TH synthesis on swim bladder inflation during zebrafish early-life stages using 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), a thyroid...
Article
In the present study, a hypothesized adverse outcome pathway linking inhibition of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) activity to impaired swim bladder inflation was investigated in two experiments in which fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT). Continuous exposure to 1 mg MBT/L for up 22 d had no effect on infla...
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Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) offer a pathway-based toxicological framework to support hazard assessment and regulatory decision-making. However, little has been discussed about the scientific confidence needed, or how complete a pathway should be, before use in a specific regulatory application. Here we review four case studies to explore the de...
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Drought is the most important crop yield-limiting factor and detailed knowledge of its impact on plant growth regulation is crucial. The maize leaf growth zone offers unique possibilities for studying the spatio-temporal regulation of developmental processes by transcriptional analyses and methods that require more material such as metabolite and e...
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In the following study, dose dependent effects on growth and oxidative stress induced by beta-radiation were examined to gain better insights in the mode of action of beta-radiation induced stress in plant species. Radiostrontium (90Sr) was used to test for beta-radiation induced responses in the freshwater macrophyte Lemna minor. The accumulation...
Article
High throughput testing according to the Fish Embryo Acute Toxicity (FET) test (OECD Testing Guideline 236) is usually conducted in well plates. In the case of hydrophobic test substances, sorptive and evaporative losses often result in declining and poorly controlled exposure conditions. Therefore, our objective was to improve exposure conditions...
Article
Zebrafish embryos are increasingly used for developmental toxicity screening of candidate drugs and are occasionally co-incubated with a metabolic activation system at 32°C for 1, 2 or 4h, depending on their developmental stage. As this temperature is higher than the optimal temperature for zebrafish embryonic development (26-28.5°C), we investigat...
Article
Developmental toxicity testing could greatly benefit from the availability of an in vitro alternative model based on the use of animal embryos that have better human-like physiology than the currently-used alternative models. These current models are insufficient, as extrapolation of the results can be challenging. Therefore, an in vitro bovine emb...
Article
Metal oxide nanoparticles are increasingly being produced and will inevitably end up in the aquatic environment. Up till now, most papers have studied individual nanoparticle effects. However, the implementation of these data into a risk assessment tool, needed to characterise their risk to the aquatic environment, is still largely lacking. Therefo...
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Thyroid hormone (TH) balance is essential for vertebrate development. Deiodinase type 1 (D1) and type 2 (D2) increase and deiodinase type 3 (D3) decreases local intracellular levels of T3, the most important active TH. The role of deiodinase-mediated TH effects in early vertebrate development is only partially understood. Therefore, we investigated...
Article
There is still a lot of contradiction on whether metal ions are solely responsible for the observed toxicity of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles to aquatic species. While most experiments have studied nanoparticle effects at organismal levels (e.g. mortality, reproduction), effects at lower levels of biological organization may clarify the role of metal i...
Article
In this study, the uptake and elimination of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles in Daphnia magna was tested. Daphnids were exposed during 10 days to sublethal concentrations of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles and corresponding metal salts (ZnCl2 and CuCl2.2H2O), after which they were transferred to unexposed medium for another 10 days. At different times during t...
Article
In this study, the effects of CuO nanoparticles and CuCl2.2H2O were tested on Daphnia magna under chronic exposure scenarios. During a 21 day exposure to the nanoparticles and salt, the reproduction was followed by a daily count of the number of offspring. After the exposure, the adult Daphnia length and uptake of copper was measured. The dissolved...
Article
Abstract In this study, the effect of ZnO nanoparticles and ZnCl2 on growth, reproduction and accumulation of zinc in Daphnia magna was determined in a 21 day chronic toxicity test. A variety of techniques were used to distinguish the free zinc ion, dissolved, nanoparticle and aggregated zinc fraction in the daphnia test medium. The results showed...
Article
In this study the uptake of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles by Daphnia magna was tested. Daphnids were exposed during 48 h to acute concentrations of the nanoparticles and corresponding metal salts. The Daphnia zinc and copper concentration was measured and the nanoparticles were localized using electron microscopy. The aggregation and dissolution in the...
Article
PFOS caused an uninflated swim bladder and spinal curvature in zebrafish larvae.•PFOS exposure resulted in decreased length and swimming speed.•Effects were more severe when the exposure duration increased.•PFOS did not affect the early formation of the swim bladder
Article
The obesogen hypothesis states that together with an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended, exposure to environmental compounds early in life or throughout lifetime might have an influence on obesity development. In this work, we propose a new approach for obesogen screening, i.e., the use of transcriptomics in the 3T3-L1...
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Climate changes increasingly threaten plant growth and productivity. Such changes are complex and involve multiple environmental factors, including rising CO2 levels and climate extreme events. As the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying plant responses to realistic future climate extreme conditions are still poorly understood, a multi...
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Exposure to appropriate levels of thyroid hormones (THs) at the right time is of key importance for normal development in all vertebrates. Type 3 iodothyronine deiodinase (D3) is the prime TH-inactivating enzyme and its expression is highest in the early stages of vertebrate development, implying it may be necessary to shield developing tissues fro...
Article
Microarrays are an ideal tool to screen for differences in gene expression of thousands of genes simultaneously. However, often commercial arrays are not available. In this study, we performed microarray analyses to evaluate patterns of gene transcription following exposure to two natural and one anthropogenic stressor. cDNA microarrays compiled of...
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The accumulation of cadmium, copper and zinc and the induction of metallothioneins (MT) in liver of three freshwater fish species was studied. Gudgeon (Gobio gobio), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and perch (Perca fluviatilis) were captured at 6 sampling sites along a cadmium and zinc gradient and one reference site in a tributary of the Scheldt River in...
Article
The aquatic environment is an important site for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) deposit. Nevertheless, the exact mode of action and its resulting toxicological effects in aquatic organisms remain largely unknown. To gain a better understanding of the mode of action of teleost PFOA toxicity, transcriptomics, proteomics, biochemical parameters and rep...
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Within-litter birth weight variation is adversely correlated to piglet survival and postnatal growth. A less efficient epithelial barrier function in light piglets may partly explain this inverse relationship between birth weight and zootechnical performance. A compromised epithelial barrier increases paracellular permeability; consequently, toxins...
Article
Despite the fact that aquatic organisms are mostly poikilothermic and environmental temperature variations can have considerable impact on chemical toxicity, toxicity studies are mainly performed at the species' specific standard or optimal temperature. Since the zebrafish is a recommended test species for use in toxicity tests, we investigated the...
Article
Standard ecotoxicity tests are performed at species' specific standard temperatures, but temperature is known to affect chemical toxicity. A temperature increase has been shown to increase cadmium toxicity in several aquatic species but information in fish is scarce. Based on literature we hypothesize that with increasing temperature, cadmium accum...
Article
The zebrafish has become a valuable vertebrate model organism in a wide range of scientific disciplines, but current information concerning the physiological temperature response of adult zebrafish is rather scarce. In this study, zebrafish were experimentally acclimated for 28 days to 18, 26 or 34 °C and a suite of non-invasive and invasive method...
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Background Although a number of intestinal inflammatory conditions pertain to the ileum, whole-genome gene expression analyses in animal models of ileal inflammation are lacking to date. Therefore, we aimed to identify and characterize alterations in gene expression in the acutely inflamed ileum of two murine models of intestinal inflammation, name...
Article
For several decades, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has widely been used as a fluorinated surfactant in aqueous film forming foams used as hydrocarbon fuel fire extinguishers. Due to concerns regarding its environmental persistence and toxicological effects, PFOS has recently been replaced by novel fluorinated surfactants such as Forafac®1157, de...