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Aquat Toxicol. 2012 Apr;110-111:141-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Bioconcentration and metabolism of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) result in thyroid endocrine disruption in zebrafish larvae.

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State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have the potential to disturb the thyroid endocrine system, but little is known of such effects or underlying mechanisms of BDE-209 in fish. In the present study, bioconcentration and metabolism of BDE-209 were investigated in zebrafish embryos exposed at concentrations of 0, 0.08, 0.38 and 1.92 mg/L in water until 14 days post-fertilization (dpf). Chemical analysis revealed that BDE-209 was accumulated in zebrafish larvae, while also metabolic products were detected, including octa- and nona-BDEs, with nona-BDEs being predominant. The exposure resulted in alterations of both triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels, indicating thyroid endocrine disruption. Gene transcription in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis was further examined, and the results showed that the genes encoding corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSHβ) were transcriptionally significantly up-regulated. Genes involved in thyroid development (Pax8 and Nkx2.1) and synthesis (sodium/iodide symporter, NIS, thyroglobulin, TG) were also transcriptionally up-regulated. Up-regulation of mRNA for thyronine deiodinase (Dio1 and Dio2) and thyroid hormone receptors (TRα and TRβ) was also observed. However, the genes encoding proteins involved in TH transport (transthyretin, TTR) and metabolism (uridinediphosphate-glucuronosyl-transferase, UGT1ab) were transcriptionally significantly down-regulated. Furthermore, protein synthesis of TG was significantly up-regulated, while that of TTR was significantly reduced. These results suggest that the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis can be evaluated to determine thyroid endocrine disruption by BDE-209 in developing zebrafish larvae.

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