Behavioral and immunotoxic effects of Prograf® (tacrolimus) in the male Siamese fighting fish

  • Arash Javanshir Khoei
  • Mohammad Navid ForsatkarEmail author
  • Culum Brown


Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) has been extensively exploited in the behavioral and physiological toxicology studies of drugs. Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressant drug largely used in liver and renal transplantations. Here we found that a 7-day exposure of male B. splendens to concentrations of 0.05 and 0.1 µg/mL Prograf® (tacrolimus) caused alterations in aggression and immunity indexes. Tacrolimus exposed fish presented lower opercular display in a mirror test which is indicative of reduced aggression. In addition, serum levels of lysozyme, IgM, alternative complement, and bactericidal activity of subjects exposed to 0.1 µg/mL tacrolimus were lower than those from the control treatment. These results showed the behavioral impairment and immunotoxic impacts of tacrolimus in a model of aquatic toxicology. The results suggest fishes provide a possible model for better understanding of the drug action in vertebrates, and possible consequences for the environment via its effects on non-target organisms in an ecotoxicology context.


Betta splendens Tacrolimus Exposure test Aggression behavior Immune parameters 



This study was partly funded by the Young Researchers and Elite Club, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arash Javanshir Khoei
    • 1
  • Mohammad Navid Forsatkar
    • 2
    Email author
  • Culum Brown
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran
  2. 2.Young Researchers and Elite Club, Karaj BranchIslamic Azad UniversityKarajIran
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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