ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-100427-25
DEHP Impairs Zebrafish Reproduction by Affecting Critical Factors in Oogenesis
Carnevali, O., Tosti, L., Speciale, C., Peng, C., Zhu, Y., and Maradonna, F.
Public concerns on phthalates distributions in the environment have been increasing since they can cause liver cancer, structural abnormalities and reduce sperm counts in male reproductive system. However, few data are actually available on the effects of Di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP) in female reproductive system. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of DEHP on zebrafish oogenesis and embryo production. Female Danio rerio were exposed to environmentally relevant doses of DEHP and a significant decrease in ovulation and embryo production was observed. The effects of DEHP on several key regulators of oocyte maturation and ovulation including bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP15), luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR), membrane progesterone receptors (mPRs) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 (ptgs2) were determined by real time PCR. The expressions of BMP15 and mPR proteins were further determined by Western analyses to strengthen molecular findings. Moreover, plasma vitellogenin (vtg) titers were assayed by an ELISA procedure to determine the estrogenic effects of DEHP and its effects on oocyte growth. A significant reduction of fecundity in fish exposed to DEHP was observed. The reduced reproductive capacity was associated with an increase in ovarian BMP15 levels. This rise, in turn, was concomitant with a significant reduction in LHR and mPRbeta levels. Finally, ptgs2 expression, the final trigger of ovulation, was also decreased by DEHP. By an in vitro maturation assay, the inhibitory effect of DEHP on germinal vesicle breakdown was further confirmed. In conclusion, DEHP affecting signals involved in oocyte growth (vtg), maturation (BMP15, LHR, mPRs,) and ovulation (ptgs2), deeply impairs ovarian functions with serious consequences on embryo production. Since there is a significant genetic similarity between D.rerio and humans, the harmful effects observed at oocyte level may be relevant for further molecular studies on humans.