Chiral toxicity of muscone to embryonic zebrafish heart

Ming Li, Liang Yao, Hao Chen, Xuan Ni, Yao Xu, Wengjing Dong, Mingliang Fang, Da Chen, Aowuliji, Liang Xu, Baoquan Zhao, Jiang Deng, Kevin WH Kwok (Corresponding Author), Jingfeng Yang, Wu Dong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Musk compounds are often used as to treat heart-related diseases and are widely used in Asia. Muscone is one of the most important physiologically active compounds of natural musk. Muscone is a chiral compound and can be further classified into S-muscone and R-muscone and both are present in synthetic musk. While these two chiral isomers have significant differences in odor properties, their difference in toxicity is still unknown. This study used zebrafish as an animal model to compare cardiac toxicities of S-muscone and R-muscone. Results showed that both compounds were acutely toxic to zebrafish embryos causing mortality, decreased hatching rate, pericardial edema, and decreased heart beat rate. These toxicities were modulated through increased Myh6 and Myh7 mRNA expression, and decreased thyroid genes (Trh, Thrβ, and Dio3) expression. R-muscone caused higher toxicity than S-muscone at the same concentration. For safety, the chiral isomer composition of synthetic muscone should be carefully regulated in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105451
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Atrial/Ventricular myosin heavy Chain
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Chirality
  • Muscone
  • Zebrafish embryo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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