We investigated the genomic transcriptional response of female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to an acute (4 days) exposure to 0.1 or 1.0 ??g/L of 17??-trenbolone (TB), the active metabolite of an anabolic androgenic steroid used as a growth promoter in cattle and a contaminant of concern in aquatic systems. Our objectives were to investigate the gene expression profile induced by TB, define biomarkers of exposure to TB, and increase our understanding of the mechanisms of adverse effects of TB on fish reproduction. In female gonad tissue, microarray analysis using a 22 K oligonucleotide microarray (EcoArray Inc., Gainesville, FL) showed 99 significantly upregulated genes and 741 significantly downregulated genes in response to 1 ??g TB/L. In particular, hydroxysteroid (17??) dehydrogenase 12a (hsd17b12a), zona pellucida glycoprotein 2.2 (zp2.2), and protein inhibitor of activated STAT, 2 (pias2) were all downregulated in gonad. Q-PCR measurements in a larger sample set were consistent with the microarray results in the direction and magnitude of these changes in gene expression. However, several novel potential biomarkers were verified by Q-PCR in the same samples, but could not be validated in independent samples. In liver, Q-PCR measurements showed a significant decrease in vitellogenin 1 (vtg1) mRNA expression. In brain, cytochrome P450, family 19, subfamily A, polypeptide 1b (cyp19a1b, previously known as aromatase B) transcript levels were significantly reduced following TB exposure. Our study provides a candidate gene involved in mediating the action of TB, hsd17b12a, and two potential biomarkers sensitive to acute TB exposure, hepatic vtg1 and brain cyp19a1b.
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The genomic transcriptional response of female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to an acute exposure to the androgen, 17β-trenbolone