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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Jul 15;98(4):381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.03.010. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Alterations in mRNA expression of steroid receptors and heat shock proteins in the liver of rare minnow (Grobiocypris rarus) exposed to atrazine and p,p'-DDE.

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State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


The chaperon role of heat shock proteins (HSPs) throughout the life cycle of steroid receptors have been demonstrated in vitro. However, the actions of HSPs in steroid pathways in animals especially in fish were unclear. In this study, sexually mature rare minnows (Gobiocypris rarus) were exposed to typical endocrine disruptors (atrazine and p,p'-DDE). Hypertrophy of hepatocytes at the 333 microg/l atrazine treatment and atrophy of hepatocytes in all p,p'-DDE treatments were observed. The expression of liver hsp70 and hsp90 in atrazine treatments were significantly up-regulated. Moreover, remarkable increases in the expression of androgen receptor (ar) and estrogen receptor (er) were observed, while alterations of the glucoticorcoid receptor (gr) expression was not significant in atrazine exposed fish. The expression of ar, er, gr, hsp70 and hsp90 were significantly suppressed following p,p'-DDE exposure. These results demonstrate that the expression of hsp70 and hsp90 is altered along with changes of steroid receptors in vivo. Therefore, the results are consistent with the possibility that in fish heat shock proteins (HSPs) play chaperon roles for the steroid receptors in vivo, which also concurs with previous in vitro mammalian studies.

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