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BMC Genomics. 2019 Jul 17;20(1):587. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-5896-6.

Effects of short-time exposure to atrazine on miRNA expression profiles in the gonad of common carp (Cyprinus carpio).

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College of Life Science, Henan Normal University, Xinxiang, Henan, 453007, People's Republic of China.
College of Life Science, Henan Normal University, Xinxiang, Henan, 453007, People's Republic of China.



Atrazine is widely used in agriculture and is a known endocrine disrupting chemical. Atrazine can seep into the water body through surface, posing a potential threat to the aquatic ecological environment and human drinking water source. In vertebrate, studies have shown that it can affect reproduction and development seriously, but its molecular mechanism for aquatic animals is unknown. Aquaculture is very common in China, especially common carp, whose females grow faster than males. However, the effects of atrazine on the reproduction of carp, especially miRNA, have not been investigated.


In this study, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) at two key developmental stages were exposed to atrazine in vitro. Sex ratio was observed to analyze the effect of atrazine on the sex. MiRNA expression profiles were analysed to identify miRNAs related to gonad development and to reveal the atrazine mechanisms interfering with gonad differentiation. The results showed that the sex ratio was biased towards females. Atrazine exposure caused significant alteration of multiple miRNAs. Predicted targets of differently-expressed miRNAs were involved in many reproductive biology signalling pathways.


Our results indicate that atrazine promoted the expression of female-biased genes by decreasing miRNAs in primordial gonad. In addition, our results indicate that atrazine can up-regulate aromatase expression through miRNAs, which supports the hypothesis that atrazine has endocrine-disrupting activity by altering the gene expression profile of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonad axis through its corresponding miRNAs.


Atrazine; Cyprinus carpio; Gonad development; MicroRNA; Targeting analysis

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