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Clethodim exposure induces developmental immunotoxicity and neurobehavioral dysfunction in zebrafish embryos

Xiong, Guanghua, Zou, Lufang, Deng, Yunyun, Meng, Yunlong, Liao, Xinjun, Lu, Huiqiang
Fish & shellfish immunology 2019 v.86 pp. 549-558
Danio rerio, Toll-like receptor 4, acetylcholinesterase, agonists, apoptosis, aquatic ecosystems, body length, carbachol, cholinergic receptors, clethodim, dose response, edema, embryogenesis, enzyme activity, fish larvae, gene expression regulation, genes, heart rate, histones, immunotoxicity, interferon-gamma, interleukin-1beta, interleukin-8, oxidative stress, survival rate, transcription factor NF-kappa B, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, yolk sac
Clethodim is one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture, but its potential negative effects on aquatic organisms are still poorly understood. This study examined the effects of clethodim on zebrafish at aspects of early stage embryonic development, immune toxicity, cell apoptosis and locomotor behavior. Firstly, clethodim exposure markedly decreased the survival rate, body length, and heart rate and resulted in a series of morphological abnormalities, primarily spinal deformities (SD) and yolk sac edema, in zebrafish larvae. Secondly, the number of immune cells was substantially reduced but the levels of apoptosis and oxidative stress were significantly increased in a dose-dependent manner upon clethodim exposure. Thirdly, we evaluated the expression of some key genes in TLR signaling including TLR4, MyD88, and NF-κB p65 and they were all up-regulated by exposure to 300 μg/L clethodim. Meanwhile, some proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β, IL8, and IFN-γ were also activated in both the mock and the TLR4-KD conditions. Moreover, the locomotor behaviors and the enzymatic activities of AChE were obviously inhibited but the levels of acetylated histone H3 were greatly increased by clethodim exposure. In addition, incubation of zebrafish larvae with acetylcholine receptor (AChR) agonist carbachol can partially rescue the clethodim-modulated locomotor behavior. Taken together, our results suggest that clethodim has the potential to induce developmental immunotoxicity and cause behavioral alterations in zebrafish larvae. The information presented in this study will help to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying clethodim exposure in aquatic ecosystems.