Triazole-Induced Gene Expression Changes in the Zebrafish Embryo

Laboratory for Health Protection Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
Reproductive Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 06/2012; 34(2):216-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2012.05.093
Source: PubMed


The zebrafish embryo is considered to provide a promising alternative test model for developmental toxicity testing. Most systems use morphological assessment of the embryos, however, microarray analyses may increase sensitivity and predictability of the test by detecting more subtle and detailed responses. In this study, we investigated the possibility of relating gene expression profiles of structurally similar chemicals tested in a single concentration, to a complete transcriptomic concentration-response of flusilazole (FLU). We tested five other triazoles, hexaconazole (HEX), cyproconazole (CYP), triadimefon (TDF), myclobutanil (MYC), and triticonazole (TTC) at equipotent concentrations based on morphological evaluation. Results showed that every compound had a different degree of regulation within their anti-fungal and developmental toxicity pathways, steroid biosynthesis and retinol metabolism, respectively. Assuming that the ratio between these pathways is relevant for efficacy compared to developmental toxicity, we found TTC was more efficient and CYP was more toxic compared to the other triazoles. With the approach used in this study we demonstrated that gene expression data allow more comprehensive assessment of compound effects by discriminating relative potencies using these specific gene sets. The zebrafish embryo model can therefore be considered a useful vertebrate model providing information of relevant pathways related to anti-fungal mechanism of action and toxicological activity.

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    • "In combination with the drop in T secretion, an increase in progesterone biosynthesis was seen after exposure to prochloraz, indicating that the role of the CYP17 enzyme is very important in this matter [21]. Furthermore , Cyp26A1, a crucial enzyme within in the retinol metabolism pathway, seems to be a target for conazoles in the zebrafish embryo [12], an underlying mechanism for developmental toxicity. Spermatogenesis is tightly regulated by several steroidogenic processes involving multiple enzymatic conversions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Conazole fungicides are widely used in agriculture despite their suspected endocrine disrupting properties. In this study, the potential (anti-)androgenic effects of ten conazoles were assessed and mutually compared with existing data. Effects of cyproconazole (CYPRO), fluconazole (FLUC), flusilazole (FLUS), hexaconazole (HEXA), myconazole (MYC), penconazole (PEN), prochloraz (PRO), tebuconazole (TEBU), triadimefon (TRIA), and triticonazole (TRIT) were examined using murine Leydig (MA-10) cells and human T47D-ARE cells stably transfected with an androgen responsive element and a firefly luciferase reporter gene. Six conazoles caused a decrease in basal testosterone (T) secretion by MA-10 cells varying from 61% up to 12% compared to vehicle-treated control. T secretion was concentration-dependently inhibited after exposure of MA-10 cells to several concentrations of FLUS (IC50 = 12.4 μM) or TEBU (IC50 = 2.4 μM) in combination with LH. The expression of steroidogenic and cholesterol biosynthesis genes was not changed by conazole exposure. Also, there were no changes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation that could explain the altered T secretion after exposure to conazoles. Nine conazoles decreased T-induced AR activation (IC50s ranging from 10.7 to 71.5 μM) and effect potencies (REPs) were calculated relative to the known AR antagonist flutamide (FLUT). FLUC had no effect on AR activation by T. FLUS was the most potent (REP = 3.61) and MYC the least potent (REP = 0.03) AR antagonist. All other conazoles had a comparable REP from 0.12 to 0.38. Our results show distinct in vitro anti-androgenic effects of several conazole fungicides arising from two mechanisms: inhibition of T secretion and AR antagonism, suggesting potential testicular toxic effects. These effects warrant further mechanistic investigation and clearly show the need for accurate exposure data in order to perform proper (human) risk assessment of this class of compounds.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Toxicology Reports
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish embryotoxicity test is a promising alternative assay for developmental toxicity. Classically, morphological assessment of the embryos is applied to evaluate the effects of compound exposure. However, by applying differential gene expression analysis the sensitivity and predictability of the test may be increased. For defining gene expression signatures of developmental toxicity, we explored the possibility of using gene expression signatures of compound exposures based on commonly expressed individual genes as well as based on regulated gene pathways. Four developmental toxic compounds were tested in concentration-response design, caffeine, carbamazepine, retinoic acid and valproic acid, and two non-embryotoxic compounds, D-mannitol and saccharin, were included. With transcriptomic analyses we were able to identify commonly expressed genes, which were mostly development related, after exposure to the embryotoxicants. We also identified gene pathways regulated by the embryotoxicants, suggestive of their modes of action. Furthermore, whereas pathways may be regulated by all compounds, individual gene expression within these pathways can differ for each compound. Overall, the present study suggests that the use of individual gene expression signatures as well as pathway regulation may be useful starting points for defining gene biomarkers for predicting embryotoxicity.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is one of a number of teleost fish species frequently employed in toxicology. Toxico-genomics determines global transcriptomic responses to chemical exposures and can predict their effects. It has been applied successfully within aquatic toxicology to assist in chemical testing, determination of mechanisms and environmental monitoring. Moreover, the related field of toxico-epigenomics, that determines chemical-induced changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and micro-RNA expression, is emerging as a valuable contribution to understanding mechanisms of both adaptive and adverse responses. Zebrafish has proven a useful and convenient model species for both transcriptomic and epigenetic toxicological studies. Despite zebrafish's dominance in other areas of fish biology, alternative fish species are used extensively in toxico-genomics. The main reason for this is that environmental monitoring generally focuses on species native to the region of interest. We are starting to see advances in the integration of high-throughput screening, omics techniques and bioinformatics together with more traditional indicator endpoints that are relevant to regulators. Integration of such approaches with high-throughput testing of zebrafish embryos, leading to the discovery of adverse outcome pathways, promises to make a major contribution to ensuring the safety of chemicals in the environment.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Briefings in functional genomics
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