The role of CYP1A inhibition in the embryotoxic interactions between hypoxia and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and PAH mixtures in zebrafish (Danio rerio)
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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental pollutants with elevated concentrations in waters that may also experience hypoxia. Previous research has shown interactions between hypoxia and some PAHs (fluoranthene, α-naphthoflavone) but no interaction with others (benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), β-naphthoflavone). Here we examine how hypoxia (7.4% oxygen, ~35% of normoxia) affects the embryotoxicity of PAHs that act through different mechanisms and the role that CYP1A inhibition may play in these interactions. About 500 μg/l BaP and 1–200 μg/l benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkF) interacted synergistically with hypoxia to induce pericardial edema in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio). Hypoxia protected from the embryotoxicity of pyrene (PY) and had no effect on the toxicity of polychlorinated biphenyl-126. Despite previous reports of other CYP1A inhibitors interacting with hypoxia, up to 2,000 μg/l dibenzothiophene, 2-aminoanthracene (AA), and carbazole (CB) all failed to induce embryotoxicity under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. The toxicity of PAH mixtures—including binary mixtures of BaP/AA and BaP/CB and two environmentally relevant, complex mixtures—were exacerbated severely by hypoxia to induce or worsen pericardial edema and cause mortality. The interactions between hypoxia and BkF and PY were closely mimicked by morpholino knockdown of CYP1A, indicating a potential role for metabolism of these compounds in their toxicity. Our results indicate that various PAHs may exhibit synergistic, antagonistic or additive toxicity with hypoxia. The enhanced toxicity of environmental mixtures of PAHs under hypoxia suggests that risk assessments that do not take into account potential interactions with hypoxia may underestimate the threat of PAHs to fish in contaminated sites.
KeywordsPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Hypoxia Zebrafish Multiple stressors CYP1A
We would like to thank Kyle Erwin in the laboratory of Margaret Kirby for the generous gift of the PCB-126 and β-actin primers used in these experiments. We would also like to thank Bryan Clark and Lindsey Van Tiem for technical assistance in the collection and preparation of the Elizabeth River Sediment Extract and Cole Matson for statistical advice. Funding was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-supported Duke University Superfund Research Center (P42-ES-10356), the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program (T32-ES-007031) and an Environmental Protection Agency STAR grant to C. Fleming.
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