Insight into the transgenerational effect of benzo[a]pyrene on bone formation in a teleost fish (Oryzias latipes)

Frauke Seemann, Drew R. Peterson, P. Eckhard Witten, Baosheng GUO, Adamane H. Shanthanagouda, Rui R. Ye, Ge ZHANG, Doris W.T. Au*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Recent cross-generational studies in teleost fish have raised the awareness that high levels of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) could affect skeletal integrity in the directly exposed F0 and their F1-F2. However, no further details were provided about the causes for abnormalities on the molecular and cellular level and the persistence of such sub-organismal impairments at the transgenerational scale (beyond F2). Adult Oryzias latipes were exposed to 1 μg/L BaP for 21 days. The F1-F3 were examined for skeletal deformities, histopathological alterations of vertebral bodies and differential expression of key genes of bone metabolism. Significant increase of dorsal-ventral vertebral compression was evident in ancestrally exposed larvae. Histopathological analysis revealed abnormal loss of notochord sheath, a lack of notochord epithelial integrity, reduced bone tissue and decreased osteoblast abundance. A significant downregulation of ATF4 and/or osterix and a high biological variability of COL10, coupled with a significant deregulation of SOX9a/b in the F1-F3 suggest that ancestral BaP exposure most likely perturbed chordoblasts, chondroblast and osteoblast differentiation, resulting in defective notochord sheath repair and rendering the vertebral column more vulnerable to compression. The present findings provide novel molecular and cellular insights into BaP-induced transgenerational bone impairment in the unexposed F3. From the ecological risk assessment perspective, BaP needs to be regarded as a transgenerational skeletal toxicant, which exerts a far-reaching impact on fish survival and fitness. Given that basic mechanisms of cartilage/bone formation are conserved between medaka and mammals, the results may also shed light on the potential transgenerational effect of BaP on the genesis of skeletal diseases in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bone metabolism
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cross-generational effects
  • Japanese medaka
  • Multigenerational effects
  • Notochord sheath
  • Oryzias latipes
  • Osterix
  • PAHs
  • Sox 9
  • Teleost


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