John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Gene expression responses for detecting sublethal effects of xenobiotics and whole effluents on a Xenopus laevis embryo assay

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In the present study, we investigated the effects of bisphenol A, chlorpyrifos, methylparaben and 2 effluent samples from wastewater treatment plants located in the province of Madrid (Spain) on the mRNA expression of specific genes involved in early development (ESR1, pax6, bmp4 and myf5) and a gene involved in general stress response (hsp70) during Xenopus laevis embryo development. Gene expressions were analyzed after 4, 24 and 96 h of exposure by semi‐quantitative RT‐PCR. Concentrations ranges of the compounds and dilutions for the samples were selected to cause morphological alterations in embryos after 96 h of exposure. Transcript levels of ESR1, pax6, and hsp70 were differentially altered at early developmental stages with patterns specific to the contaminant and the exposure time. However, further studies are needed to establish transcript levels of specific genes as biomarkers of sublethal effects in an environmental risk assessment framework. Besides, studies including more generic responses, such as genes encoding antioxidant enzymes, together with genes related to embryonic development have to be developed in order to look for a battery of mechanistic endpoints for the evaluation of the chemical exposure at molecular level in a first tier assessment. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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