Embryonic Zebrafish Model - A Well-Established Method for Rapidly Assessing the Toxicity of Homeopathic Drugs - Toxicity Evaluation of Homeopathic Drugs Using Zebrafish Embryo Model -

  • Gupta, Himanshu R (Department of Medical Genetics, MGMIUDBS, Mahatma Gandhi Mission Institute of Health Sciences) ;
  • Patil, Yogesh (MGMCET & Central Research Laboratory, Mahatma Gandhi Mission Institute for Health Sciences) ;
  • Singh, Dipty (National Centre for Preclinical Reproductive and Genetic Toxicology (NIRRH), National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health (ICMR)) ;
  • Thakur, Mansee (Mahatma Gandhi Mission College of Engineering and Technology & Department of Medical Biotechnology, Central Research Laboratory, MGM Medical College, MGMIHS)
  • Received : 2016.09.07
  • Accepted : 2016.12.01
  • Published : 2016.12.31


Objectives: Advancements in nanotechnology have led to nanoparticle (NP) use in various fields of medicine. Although the potential of NPs is promising, the lack of documented evidence on the toxicological effects of NPs is concerning. A few studies have documented that homeopathy uses NPs. Unfortunately, very few sound scientific studies have explored the toxic effects of homeopathic drugs. Citing this lack of high-quality scientific evidence, regulatory agencies have been reluctant to endorse homeopathic treatment as an alternative or adjunct treatment. This study aimed to enhance our insight into the impact of commercially-available homeopathic drugs, to study the presence of NPs in those drugs and any deleterious effects they might have, and to determine the distribution pattern of NPs in zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio). Methods: Homeopathic dilutions were studied using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy with selected area electron diffraction (SAED). For the toxicity assessment on Zebrafish, embryos were exposed to a test solution from 4 - 6 hours post-fertilization, and embryos/larvae were assessed up to 5 days post-fertilization (dpf ) for viability and morphology. Toxicity was recorded in terms of mortality, hatching delay, phenotypic defects and metal accumulation. Around 5 dpf was found to be the optimum developmental stage for evaluation. Results: The present study aimed to conclusively prove the presence of NPs in all high dilutions of homeopathic drugs. Embryonic zebrafish were exposed to three homeopathic drugs with two potencies (30CH, 200CH) during early embryogenesis. The resulting morphological and cellular responses were observed. Exposure to these potencies produced no visibly significant malformations, pericardial edema, and mortality and no necrotic and apoptotic cellular death. Conclusion: Our findings clearly demonstrate that no toxic effects were observed for these three homeopathic drugs at the potencies and exposure times used in this study. The embryonic zebrafish model is recommended as a well-established method for rapidly assessing the toxicity of homeopathic drugs.


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