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Open AccessArticle

Thyroid Hormone Disruptors Interfere with Molecular Pathways of Eye Development and Function in Zebrafish

Centre for Organismal Studies, Aquatic Ecology and Toxicology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 504, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Vetsuisse Faculty, Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 122, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Fischereiforschungsstelle LAZBW, Argenweg 50/1, 88085 Langenargen, Germany
Department of Veterinary Sciences, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Zebrafishlab, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2160 Wilrijk, Belgium
Department of Biology, Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research (SPHERE), University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1543;
Received: 26 January 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish 2.0: A Model for Toxicological Research)
The effects of thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals (THDCs) on eye development of zebrafish were investigated. We expected THDC exposure to cause transcriptional changes of vision-related genes, which find their phenotypic anchoring in eye malformations and dysfunction, as observed in our previous studies. Zebrafish were exposed from 0 to 5 days post fertilization (dpf) to either propylthiouracil (PTU), a thyroid hormone synthesis inhibitor, or tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), which interacts with thyroid hormone receptors. Full genome microarray analyses of RNA isolated from eye tissue revealed that the number of affected transcripts was substantially higher in PTU- than in TBBPA-treated larvae. However, multiple components of phototransduction (e.g., phosphodiesterase, opsins) were responsive to both THDC exposures. Yet, the response pattern for the gene ontology (GO)-class “sensory perception” differed between treatments, with over 90% down-regulation in PTU-exposed fish, compared to over 80% up-regulation in TBBPA-exposed fish. Additionally, the reversibility of effects after recovery in clean water for three days was investigated. Transcriptional patterns in the eyes were still altered and partly overlapped between 5 and 8 dpf, showing that no full recovery occurred within the time period investigated. However, pathways involved in repair mechanisms were significantly upregulated, which indicates activation of regeneration processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: PTU; TBBPA; mode of action; pathways of toxicity; microarray; transcriptome analyses PTU; TBBPA; mode of action; pathways of toxicity; microarray; transcriptome analyses
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MDPI and ACS Style

Baumann, L.; Segner, H.; Ros, A.; Knapen, D.; Vergauwen, L. Thyroid Hormone Disruptors Interfere with Molecular Pathways of Eye Development and Function in Zebrafish. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 1543.

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