Kreiling, J.A., Creton, R., and Reinisch, C. (2007) Early embryonic exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls disrupts heat-shock protein 70 cognate expression in zebrafish. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A. 70(12):1005-1013.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent environmental contaminants that have documented neurological effects in children exposed in utero. To better define neuronally linked molecular targets during early development, zebrafish embryos were exposed to Aroclor 1254, a mixture of PCB congeners that are common environmental contaminants. Microarray analysis of the zebrafish genome revealed consistent significant changes in 38 genes. Of these genes, 55% (21) are neuronally related. One gene that showed a consistent 50% reduction in expression in PCB-treated embryos was heat-shock protein 70 cognate (Hsc70). The reduction in Hsc70 expression was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), revealing a consistent 30% reduction in expression in PCB-treated embryos. Early embryonic exposure to PCBs also induced structural changes in the ventro-rostral cluster as detected by immunocytochemistry. In addition, there was a significant reduction in dorso-rostral neurite outgrowth emanating from the RoL1 cell cluster following PCB exposure. The serotonergic neurons in the developing diencephalon showed a 34% reduction in fluorescence when labeled with a serotonin antibody following PCB exposure, corresponding to a reduction in serotonin concentration in the neurons. The total size of the labeled neurons was not significantly different between treated and control embryos, indicating that the development of the neurons was not affected, only the production of serotonin within the neurons. The structural and biochemical changes in the developing central nervous system following early embryonic exposure to Aroclor 1254 may lead to alterations in the function of the affected regions.