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Molecular Mechanisms of Crude Oil Developmental Toxicity in Fish

Incardona, John P.
Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 2017 v.73 no.1 pp. 19-32
agonists, aromatic compounds, cardiomyocytes, developmental toxicity, dioxins, fish, fish development, genetic engineering, genomics, models, oil spills, petroleum, polycyclic compounds, China, Korean Peninsula, United States
With major oil spills in Korea, the United States, and China in the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of studies characterizing the developmental toxicity of crude oil and its associated polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). The use of model fish species with associated tools for genetic manipulation, combined with high throughput genomics techniques in nonmodel fish species, has led to significant advances in understanding the cellular and molecular bases of functional and morphological defects arising from embryonic exposure to crude oil. Following from the identification of the developing heart as the primary target of crude oil developmental toxicity, studies on individual PACs have revealed a diversity of cardiotoxic mechanisms. For some PACs that are strong agonists of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), defects in heart development arise in an AHR-dependent manner, which has been shown for potent organochlorine agonists, such as dioxins. However, crude oil contains a much larger fraction of compounds that have been found to interfere directly with cardiomyocyte physiology in an AHR-independent manner. By comparing the cellular and molecular responses to AHR-independent and AHR-dependent toxicity, this review focuses on new insights into heart-specific pathways underlying both acute and secondary adverse outcomes to crude oil exposure during fish development.