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General and comparative endocrinology

Transcriptomic profiling in Silurana tropicalis testes exposed to finasteride.


PMID 24530632

Abstract

Investigations of endocrine disrupting chemicals found in aquatic ecosystems with estrogenic and androgenic modes of action have increased over the past two decades due to a surge of evidence of adverse effects in wildlife. Chemicals that disrupt androgen signalling and steroidogenesis can result in an imbalanced conversion of testosterone (T) into 17β-estradiol (E2) and other androgens such as 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT). Therefore, a better understanding of how chemicals perturb these pathways is warranted. In this study, the brain, liver, and testes of Silurana tropicalis were exposed ex vivo to the human drug finasteride, a potent steroid 5α-reductase inhibitor and a model compound to study the inhibition of the conversion of T into 5α-DHT. These experiments were conducted (1) to determine organ specific changes in sex steroid production after treatment, and (2) to elucidate the transcriptomic response to finasteride in testicular tissue. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to measure hormone levels in media following finasteride incubation for 6 h. Finasteride significantly increased T levels in the media of liver and testis tissue, but did not induce any changes in E2 and 5α-DHT production. Gene expression analysis was performed in frog testes and data revealed that finasteride treatment significantly altered 1,434 gene probes. Gene networks associated with male reproduction such as meiosis, hormone biosynthesis, sperm entry, gonadotropin releasing hormone were affected by finasteride exposure as well as other pathways such as oxysterol synthesis, apoptosis, and epigenetic regulation. For example, this study suggests that the mode of action by which finasteride induces cellular damage in testicular tissue as reported by others, is via oxidative stress in testes. This data also suggests that 5-reductase inhibition disrupts the expression of genes related to reproduction. It is proposed that androgen-disrupting chemicals may mediate their action via 5-reductases and that the effects of environmental pollutants are not limited to the androgen receptor signalling.