Bugiak, B., and Weber, L.P. (2009) Hepatic and vascular mRNA expression in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) following exposure to benzo-a-pyrene and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 95(4):299-306.
Developmental exposure to aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists in fish causes severe defects in the cardiovascular system. However, the effects of acute AhR agonist exposure on the adult fish cardiovascular system are not clear. We hypothesized that AhR-mediated changes in adult vascular tissue gene expression would differ from that of hepatic tissue. Therefore, zebrafish (Danio rerio) were intraperitoneally injected with the AhR agonists benzo-a-pyrene (BaP; 1mg/kg) or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; 20microg/kg) alone and in combination with the AhR antagonists resveratrol (Res; 10mg/kg) or alpha-naphthoflavone (ANF; 50mg/kg). Hepatic and mesenteric artery cytochrome P450 enzyme (subtypes 1A, 1B1, 1C1, and 1C2) and cyclooxygenase enzyme (subtypes 1, 2a, and 2b) mRNA expression was quantified using real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. TCDD exposure significantly increased (p≤0.05 in Tukey's posteriori test after 1-way ANOVA; n=4-6/group) CYP1A, CYP1C1, and COX-2b mRNA expression in hepatic tissue (105+/-21, 12+/-2, and 2+/-0.3 fold-increase, mean+/-SEM respectively). TCDD also increased CYP1A, CYP1B1, CYP1C1, CYP1C2, and COX-1 mRNA expression in mesenteric artery (121+/-23, 5+/-1, 28+/-6, 7+/-1, and 3+/-0.3, respectively). Importantly, while BaP exposure elicited no significant alterations in hepatic CYP mRNA expression, it increased COX-1 and COX-2b in liver tissues (3+/-1 and 2+/-0.1, respectively), as well as CYP1A, CYP1B1, CYP1C1, CYP1C2, and COX-1 expression in mesenteric artery (2+/-0.3, 4+/-0.3, 5+/-1, 5+/-1, and 2+/-0.3, respectively). Resveratrol was able to antagonize TCDD-induced CYP1C2 in mesenteric artery but was without effect in all other treatments in both liver and mesenteric artery. In contrast, ANF antagonized TCDD and BaP-induced COX-2b and TCDD-induced CYP1C1 expression increases, as well as reduced baseline CYP1B1 and COX-2a expression in liver, while failing to affect BaP and TCDD-induced hepatic CYP1A increases. However, in mesenteric artery, ANF alone acted instead as an agonist to increase expression of CYP1A, CYP1B1, CYP1C1, CYP1C2, COX-2a and COX-2b. Thus, there are important differences in response to both AhR agonists and antagonists between liver and mesenteric artery in adult zebrafish. The vascular-specific changes in gene expression will be linked to future studies examining alterations in cardiovascular function produced by acute AhR agonist exposure in adult fish.