Development of a Comprehensive Toxicity Pathway Model for 17α-Ethinylestradiol in Early Life Stage Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas)
There is increasing pressure to develop alternative ecotoxicological risk assessment approaches that do not rely on expensive, time-consuming, and ethically questionable live animal testing. This study aimed to develop a comprehensive early life stage toxicity pathway model for the exposure of fish to estrogenic chemicals that is rooted in mechanistic toxicology. Embryo-larval fathead minnows (FHM; Pimephales promelas) were exposed to graded concentrations of 17α-ethinylestradiol (water control, 0.01% DMSO, 4, 20, and 100 ng/L) for 32 days. Fish were assessed for transcriptomic and proteomic responses at 4 days post-hatch (dph), and for histological and apical end points at 28 dph. Molecular analyses revealed core responses that were indicative of observed apical outcomes, including biological processes resulting in overproduction of vitellogenin and impairment of visual development. Histological observations indicated accumulation of proteinaceous fluid in liver and kidney tissues, energy depletion, and delayed or suppressed gonad development. Additionally, fish in the 100 ng/L treatment group were smaller than controls. Integration of omics data improved the interpretation of perturbations in early life stage FHM, providing evidence of conservation of toxicity pathways across levels of biological organization. Overall, the mechanism-based embryo-larval FHM model showed promise as a replacement for standard adult live animal tests.
Alper James G. Alcaraz, David Potěšil, Kamil Mikulášek, Derek Green, Bradley Park, Connor Burbridge, Kerstin Bluhm, Othman Soufan, Taylor Lane, Marek Pipal, Markus Brinkmann, Jianguo Xia, Zbyněk Zdráhal, David Schneider, Doug Crump, Niladri Basu, Natacha Hogan, and Markus Hecker. 2020. Development of a Comprehensive Toxicity Pathway Model for 17α-Ethinylestradiol in Early Life Stage Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas). Environmental Science & Technology. 55 (8), 5024-5036. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c05942