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Ontogenetic expression and 17β-estradiol regulation of immune-related genes in early life stages of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes)

Sun, Liwei, Shao, Xiaolu, Wu, Yudan, Li, Jingming, Zhou, Qinfang, Lin, Bo, Bao, Shenyuan, Fu, Zhengwei
Fish & shellfish immunology 2011 v.30 no.4-5 pp. 1131-1137
Oryzias latipes, adverse effects, biomarkers, complement, cytokines, endocrine system, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, environmental exposure, estradiol, estrogenic properties, ferroxidase, fish larvae, gene expression, genes, histopathology, immune response, immunocompetence, lysozyme, messenger RNA
Accumulating evidence suggests that environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may exert adverse effects on aquatic organisms via the modulation of immune competence in addition to the endocrine system. However, to date, most studies have been undertaken only on biochemical and histopathological endpoints, and few studies have addressed the role of immune response gene transcript abundance in response to estrogen. In the present study, the ontogenetic expression of immune-related genes, including three complement components (C3-1, C3-2 and Bf/C2), two cytokines (IL-21 and type I IFN [IFN]), lysozyme (LZM), novel immune-type receptor (NITR-18), Ikaros (IK) and ceruloplasmin (CP) were characterized during different developmental periods (from 0 to 28 d post-hatch [dph]) in Japanese medaka. Furthermore, the responses of these genes to natural estrogen (i.e., 17β-estradiol [E2]) were evaluated. E2 exposure at sublethal concentrations (0.1–10 μg/L) down-regulated the gene expression of C3-1, C3-2, Bf/C2, LZM and CP, while up-regulating the expression of IL-21, IFN, NITR-18 and IK. The results demonstrate a very different trend in gene expression in fish larvae exposed to E2 when compared with the ontogenetic changes in control, suggesting that exposure to environmental chemicals with estrogenic activities may interfere with immune-related genes and thus potentially influence the susceptibility of fish to opportunistic infections. These findings confirm the ability of exogenous estrogens to elicit changes in immune-related gene expression, and broaden our understanding about the mechanisms underlying the actions of EDCs. In addition, the expression profiles of immune-related genes can be developed for use as biomarkers for future immunotoxicological studies.