Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-independent toxicity of weathered crude oil during fish development.

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Fish Health Program, Environmental Conservation Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington 98112, USA.
Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.03). 01/2006; 113(12):1755-62. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.8230
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), derived largely from fossil fuels and their combustion, are pervasive contaminants in rivers, lakes, and nearshore marine habitats. Studies after the Exxon Valdez oil spill demonstrated that fish embryos exposed to low levels of PAHs in weathered crude oil develop a syndrome of edema and craniofacial and body axis defects. Although mechanisms leading to these defects are poorly understood, it is widely held that PAH toxicity is linked to aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) binding and cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) induction. Using zebrafish embryos, we show that the weathered crude oil syndrome is distinct from the well-characterized AhR-dependent effects of dioxin toxicity. Blockade of AhR pathway components with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides demonstrated that the key developmental defects induced by weathered crude oil exposure are mediated by low-molecular-weight tricyclic PAHs through AhR-independent disruption of cardiovascular function and morphogenesis. These findings have multiple implications for the assessment of PAH impacts on coastal habitats.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To understand the ecotoxicological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, field studies provide a context for ecological realism but laboratory-based studies offer power for connecting biological effects with specific causes. As a complement to field studies, we characterized genome-wide gene expression responses of Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) to oil-contaminated waters in controlled laboratory exposures. Transcriptional responses to the highest concentrations of oiled water in the laboratory were predictive of field-observed responses that coincided with the timing and location of major oiling. The transcriptional response to the low concentration (∼10-fold lower than the high concentration) was distinct from the high concentration and was not predictive of major oiling in the field. The high concentration response was characterized by activation of the molecular signaling pathway that facilitates oil metabolism and oil toxicity. The high concentration also induced DNA damage. The low concentration invoked expression of genes that may support a compensatory response, including genes associated with regulation of transcription, cell cycle progression, RNA processing, DNA damage, and apoptosis. We conclude that the gene expression response detected in the field was a robust indicator of exposure to the toxic components of contaminating oil, that animals in the field were exposed to relatively high concentrations that are especially damaging to early life stages, and that such exposures can damage DNA.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106351. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Urban stormwater contains a complex mixture of contaminants that can be acutely toxic to aquatic biota. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a set of evolving technologies intended to reduce impacts on natural systems by slowing and filtering runoff. The extent to which GSI methods work as intended is usually assessed in terms of water quantity (hydrology) and quality (chemistry). Biological indicators of GSI effectiveness have received less attention, despite an overarching goal of protecting the health of aquatic species. Here we use the zebrafish (Danio rerio) experimental model to evaluate bioinfiltration as a relatively inexpensive technology for treating runoff from an urban highway with dense motor vehicle traffic. Zebrafish embryos exposed to untreated runoff (48-96h; six storm events) displayed an array of developmental abnormalities, including delayed hatching, reduced growth, pericardial edema, microphthalmia (small eyes), and reduced swim bladder inflation. Three of the six storms were acutely lethal, and sublethal toxicity was evident across all storms, even when stormwater was diluted by as much as 95% in clean water. As anticipated from exposure to cardiotoxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), untreated runoff also caused heart failure, as indicated by circulatory stasis, pericardial edema, and looping defects. Bioretention treatment dramatically improved stormwater quality and reversed nearly all forms of developmental toxicity. The zebrafish model therefore provides a versatile experimental platform for rapidly assessing GSI effectiveness.
    Science of The Total Environment 09/2014; 500-501C:173-180. · 3.16 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 1, 2014