XB-ART-39339Environ Res May 1, 2009; 109 (4): 379-89.
Chronic exposure to high levels of atrazine alters expression of genes that regulate immune and growth-related functions in developing Xenopus laevis tadpoles.
Atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in ground and surface waters, with seasonal spikes that often exceed the Environmental Protection Agency''s "Recommended Water Quality Criterion" of 350 parts per billion (ppb). Although numerous studies have shown atrazine produces adverse effects on growth, development, immune and endocrine system functions in a wide range of species, few describe gene expression changes concurrent with atrazine-induced changes in phenotype during development. In this report, developing Xenopus laevis tadpoles were chronically exposed to 400 ppb atrazine, an environmentally relevant concentration. Affymetrix microarrays and Taqman qRT-PCR were used to define gene expression changes that underlie atrazine-induced phenotypic alterations. Atrazine significantly reduced survival and growth (weight, length and fat body size) in male and female tadpoles. Microarray analysis showed atrazine altered expression of 44 genes in male tadpoles (18 upregulated, 26 downregulated) and 77 genes in female tadpoles (23 upregulated, 54 downregulated). Classification of the genes into functional groups showed the majority of genes were associated with the following biological functions: growth and metabolism, proteolysis, fibrinogen complex formation and immune regulation. Seven genes associated with immune system function, specifically defense molecules present in the skin (e.g. magainin II, levitide A, preprocarulein, skin granule protein), were significantly downregulated in female tadpoles. These results support the idea that environmental contaminants such as atrazine compromise important gene pathways during frog development that may, ultimately, be relevant to global amphibian decline.
PubMed ID: 19272595
Article link: Environ Res
Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: fga magainins