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Aquat Toxicol. 2009 Apr 2;92(1):50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2009.01.006. Epub 2009 Feb 15.

Changes of thyroid hormone levels and related gene expression in Chinese rare minnow (Gobiocypris rarus) during 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole exposure and recovery.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 2871, Beijing 100085, China.


Thyroid hormones (THs) play an important role in the development and metabolism of fish through their influences on genetic transcription and are targets for endocrine disruptive agents in the aquatic environment. Amitrole is a pesticide potentially interfering with thyroid hormone regulation. In this study, the rare minnow (Gobiocypris rarus) was exposed to different levels of 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (amitrole) and allowed to recover in clean water. Plasma TH levels and the expression of TH-related genes, including transthyretin (ttr), deiodinases (d1 and d2), and the thyroid hormone receptor (tralpha) from the livers and brains were evaluated. After exposure, the plasma TH levels did not change. Histopathological observations showed that livers were degenerated at 10,000 ng/l and these damages could be recovered by the withdrawal of amitrole. However, the ttr, d1, and d2 mRNA levels in the livers of males were significantly up-regulated in all exposure groups (p<0.05). The ttr and d2 mRNA levels were significantly up-regulated at 10,000 ng/l and 10, 100, and 1000 ng/l in the livers of females, respectively (p<0.05). In the brains of males, a twofold increase of d2 mRNA levels at > or = 100 ng/l and a fivefold decrease of tralpha mRNA levels at > or = 10 ng/l were observed (p<0.05), whereas no significant differences were observed in the expression of d2 and tralpha in the brains of females. After a recovery period, the ttr, d1, and d2 mRNA levels in the livers of males returned to control levels, but the tralpha mRNA levels were irreversibly decreased at all treatments (p<0.05). In addition, the d2 mRNA levels in the livers of females were significantly induced at > or = 100 ng/l. Moreover, the d2 mRNA levels in the brains of males and females were up-regulated at 10,000 ng/l. These results indicated that amitrole exposure could result in alternations of ttr, d1, d2, and tralpha gene expression in different tissues of the rare minnow. The expression of these TH-related genes in males was more sensitive to amitrole than those of females. Recovery in clean water was associated with the selective regulation of TH-related gene transcription in the rare minnow. Therefore, these TH-related genes can serve as biomarkers to screen the effects of thyroid disruption chemicals in rare minnow.

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