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Environ Pollut. 2018 Oct;241:540-548. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.024. Epub 2018 May 22.

Microcystin-LR affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-inter-renal (HPI) axis in early life stages (embryos and larvae) of zebrafish.

Author information

1
Donghu Experimental Station of Lake Ecosystems, State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430072, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China.
2
Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N5B3, Canada.
3
Donghu Experimental Station of Lake Ecosystems, State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430072, China.
4
Donghu Experimental Station of Lake Ecosystems, State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430072, China; State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University, Xining, 810016, China. Electronic address: xieping@ihb.ac.cn.

Abstract

Frequencies and durations of blooms of cyanobacteria are increasing. Some cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins including microcystins (MCs). MCs are the most common toxic products of hazardous algal blooms (HABs), with the greatest potential for exposure and to cause toxicity. Recently, MCs have been shown to disrupt endocrine functions. In this study, for the first time, effects of MC-LR on the hypothalamic-pituitary-inter-renal (HPI) axis during early embryonic development (embryos/larvae) of zebrafish (Danio rerio), were investigated. Embryos/larvae of zebrafish were exposed to 1, 10, 100, or 300 μg MC-LR/L during the period of 4-168 h post-fertilization (hpf). Exposure to 300 μg MC-LR/L resulted in significantly greater concentrations of whole-body cortisol than those in controls. Expressions of genes along the HPI axis and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR-) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR-) centered gene networks were evaluated by use of quantitative real-time PCR. Expression of mRNA for crh was significantly down-regulated by exposure to 300 μg MC-LR/L, while expressions of crhbp, crhr1, and crhr2 were significantly up-regulated, relative to controls. MC-LR caused significantly lesser levels of mRNA for steroidogenic genes including hmgra, star, and cyp17, but expression of mRNA for hsd20b was significantly greater than that of controls. Treatment with MC-LR also altered profiles of transcription of MR- and GR-centered gene networks, which might result in multiple responses. Taken together, these results demonstrated that MC-LR affected the corticosteroid-endocrine system of larvae of zebrafish. This study provided valuable insights into molecular mechanisms behind potential toxicity and endocrine disruption of MCs.

KEYWORDS:

Cortisol; Endocrine disruption; Gene expression; Hazardous algal blooms; Steroids

PMID:
29883955
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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