Reproductive and developmental toxicity of dioxin in fish.
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD or dioxin) is a global environmental contaminant and the prototypical ligand for investigating aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR)-mediated toxicity. Environmental exposure to TCDD results in developmental and reproductive toxicity in fish, birds and mammals. To resolve the ecotoxicological relevance and human health risks posed by exposure to dioxin-like AHR agonists, a vertebrate model is needed that allows for toxicity studies at various levels of biological organization, assesses adverse reproductive and developmental effects and establishes appropriate integrative correlations between different levels of effects. Here we describe the reproductive and developmental toxicity of TCDD in feral fish species and summarize how using the zebrafish model to investigate TCDD toxicity has enabled us to characterize the AHR signaling in fish and to better understand how dioxin-like chemicals induce toxicity. We propose that such studies can be used to predict the risks that AHR ligands pose to feral fish populations and provide a platform for integrating risk assessments for both ecologically relevant organisms and humans.