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Effects of DEHP on post-embryonic development, nuclear receptor expression, metabolite and ecdysteroid concentrations of the moth Spodoptera littoralis

Aviles, Amandine, Boulogne, Isabelle, Durand, Nicolas, Maria, Annick, Cordeiro, Alexandra, Bozzolan, Françoise, Goutte, Aurélie, Alliot, Fabrice, Dacher, Matthieu, Renault, David, Maibeche, Martine, Siaussat, David
Chemosphere 2019 v.215 pp. 725-738
Spodoptera littoralis, adults, aquatic insects, body weight, ecdysteroids, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, excretion, food consumption, genes, instars, larvae, metabolites, metamorphosis, mortality, moths, phthalates, reproduction, signal transduction, steroid hormones, vertebrates
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is recognized in vertebrates as an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC). DEHP can alter steroid hormones production, development, reproduction and behavior in vertebrates. Only few studies investigated DEHP effects on insects. However, some recent studies on aquatic insects showed that DEHP could also act as an EDC by interfering with the signaling pathways of ecdysteroids, the main hormones involved in the control of insect post-embryonic development and physiology. The aim of the study was to investigate (1) the fate of DEHP within a terrestrial insect species by exposing larvae to food containing a wide range of DEHP concentrations and (2) the effects of this chemical on their post-embryonic development and metamorphosis, by using a multi-level approach. DEHP was shown to be present both in larvae and resulting stages, with higher concentrations in chrysalises and adults than in larvae. DEHP concentrations also decreased at the end of the last larval instar, suggesting the metabolic transformation or excretion of this chemical during this time. Only the two highest DEHP doses induced higher insect mortality, whereas low and intermediate concentrations increased larval food consumption without affecting body weight. Metabolic profiles showed that in control insects, the last three days before metamorphosis correspond to a metabolic transition, but with time-dependent changes in treated insects. Interestingly, DEHP treatments also alter both hemolymphatic ecdysteroid titers and expression levels of ecdysteroid response genes. These results confirm that DEHP can alter insect post-embryonic development and metamorphosis, by interfering with ecdysteroid pathways.