Aquat Toxicol. 2021 Dec 13;243:106053. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2021.106053. Online ahead of print.
Phenanthrene induces reproductive and developmental toxicity in fish, but whether it can disrupt the thyroid hormone balance and inhibit growth had not been determined to date. In this study, zebrafish embryos were exposed to phenanthrene (0, 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 μg/L) for 7 days. The results of this experiment demonstrated that phenanthrene induced thyroid disruption and growth inhibition in zebrafish larvae. Phenanthrene significantly decreased the concentration of l-thyroxine (T4) but increased that of 3,5,3′-l-triiodothyronine (T3). The expression of genes related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis was altered in zebrafish larvae exposed to phenanthrene. Moreover, phenanthrene exposure significantly increased the malformation rate and significantly reduced the survival rate and the body length of zebrafish larvae. Furthermore, phenanthrene significantly decreased the concentrations of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Changes observed in gene expression patterns further support the hypothesis that these effects may be related to alterations along the GH/IGF-1 axis. In conclusion, our study indicated that exposure to phenanthrene at concentrations as low as 0.1 μg/L resulted in thyroid disruption and growth inhibition in zebrafish larvae. Therefore, the estimation of phenanthrene levels in the aquatic environment needs to be revisited.
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