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J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2003;17(6):346-56.

Axial skeletal and Hox expression domain alterations induced by retinoic acid, valproic acid, and bromoxynil during murine development.

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  • 1Reproductive Toxicology Division, NHEERL (MD-67), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NC 27711, USA.

Abstract

Retinoic acid (RA) alters the developmental fate of the axial skeletal anlagen. "Anteriorizations" or "posteriorizations," the assumption of characteristics of embryonic areas normally anterior or posterior to the affected tissues, are correlated with altered embryonal expression domains of Hox genes after in utero RA treatment. These "homeotic" changes have been hypothesized to result from alterations of a "Hox cod" which imparts positional identity in the axial skeleton. To investigate whether such developmental alterations were specific to RA, or were a more general response to xenobiotic exposure, CD-1 pregnant mice were exposed to RA, valproic acid (VA), or bromoxynil (Br) during organogenesis. Additionally, the expression domains of two Hox genes, Hoxa7 and Hoxa10, were examined in gestation day (GD) 12.5 embryos obtained from control, RA, VA, or Br, treated gravid dams exposed on GD 6, 7, or 8. The anterior expression boundary of Hoxa7 is at the level of the C7/T1 vertebrae and that of Hoxa10 is at L6/S1. Compound-induced changes in the incidence of skeletal variants were observed. These included supernumerary cervical ribs (CSNR) lateral to C7, 8 vertebrosternal ribs, supernumerary lumbar ribs (LSNR) lateral to L1, extra presacral vertebrae, and the induction of vertebral and/or rib malformations. RA and VA administration on GD 6 caused posteriorization in the cervico-thoracic region (CSNR) while GD 8 exposure to any of the three compounds resulted in anteriorizations in the thoraco-lumbar area (LSNR and an increase in the number of presacral vertebrae). These effects occurred across regions of the axial skeleton. Analysis of gene expression demonstrated changes in the anterior boundaries of Hoxa7 expression domains in embryos treated on GD 6 and 8 with RA. VA and Br did not induce any statistically significant alterations in Hoxa7 and none of the compounds caused alterations in Hoxa10 expression domains. The studies indicate that RA GD 6 treatment-induced Hoxa7 shifts were rostral (posteriorization) while the RA-induced GD 8 anterior expression boundary shift was caudal (anteriorization), correlating with the axial skeletal changes noted. These data suggest that xenobiotic compounds such as VA and Br may induce similar axial skeletal changes by affecting different components of the developmental processes involved in the patterning of the axial skeleton.

Copyright 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biochem Mol Toxicol 17:346-356, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/jbt.10098

PMID:
14708090
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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