Modulation of xenobiotic biotransformation system and hormonal responses in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) after exposure to tributyltin (TBT).

Research paper by Anne Skjetne AS Mortensen, Augustine A Arukwe

Indexed on: 09 Mar '07Published on: 09 Mar '07Published in: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology


Multiple biological effects of tributyltin (TBT) on juvenile salmon have been investigated. Fish were exposed for 7 days to waterborne TBT at nominal concentrations of 50 and 250 microg/L dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Hepatic samples were analyzed for gene expression patterns in the hormonal and xenobiotic biotransformation pathways using validated real-time PCR method. Immunochemical and several cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated enzyme activity (ethoxyresorufin: EROD, benzyloxyresorufin: BROD, methoxyresorufin: MROD and pentoxyresorufin: PROD) assays were analyzed. Our data show that TBT produced concentration-specific decrease of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha), vitellogenin (Vtg), zona radiata protein (Zr-protein) and increase of estrogen receptor-beta (ERbeta) and androgen receptor-beta (ARbeta) in the hormonal pathway. In the xenobiotic biotransformation pathway, TBT produced apparent increase and decrease at respective low and high concentration, on aryl hydrocarbon receptor-alpha (AhRalpha), AhR nuclear translocator (ARNT) and AhR repressor (AhRR) mRNA. The expression of CYP1A1 and GST showed a TBT concentration-dependent decrease. The AhRbeta, CYP3A and uridine diphosphoglucuronosyl transferase (UGT) mRNA expressions were significantly induced after exposure to TBT. Immunochemical analysis of CYP3A and CYP1A1 protein levels confirmed the TBT effects observed at the transcriptional levels. The effect of TBT on the biotransformation enzyme gene expressions partially co-related but did not directly parallel enzyme activity levels for EROD, BROD, MROD and PROD. In general, these findings confirm previous reports on the endocrine effects of TBT, in addition to effects on hepatic CYP1A isoenzyme at the transcriptional level that transcends to protein and enzymatic levels. The induced expression patterns of CYP3A and UGT mRNA after TBT exposure, suggest the involvement of CYP3A and UGT in TBT metabolism in fish. The effect of TBT on CYP3A is proposed to represent another hormonal effect of TBT not previously reported in any fish or lower vertebrate. The proposed androgenic effect is supported by the observation that TBT also induced ARbeta mRNA expression in a concentration-specific manner. To our knowledge, this is the first study that has simultaneously studied multiple responses after exposure to TBT in fish.