Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

Effects on the hepatic transcriptome of chicken embryos in ovo exposed to phenobarbital.

PMID 29793206


This work aimed at evaluating the toxic effects of in ovo exposure to phenobarbital (PB) and unveiling the mode of action by transcriptome analysis in the embryonic liver of a model avian species, chicken (Gallus gallus). Embryos were initially treated with saline or 1 μg PB /g egg at Hamburger Hamilton Stage (HHS) 1 (1st day), followed by 20 days of incubation to HHS 46. At 21st day, chicks that pipped successfully were euthanized and dissected for assessing the PB caused effects on phenotypes and the liver transcriptome in both genders. In the PB treatment group, a 7% attenuation in tarsus length was found in females. While no adverse phenotypic effect on the liver somatic index (LSI) was observed, PB caused significant changes in the expressions of 52 genes in males and 516 genes in females (False Discovery Rate < 0.2, p value < 0.05, and absolute fold change > 2). PB exposure modulated the genes primarily enriched in the biological pathways of the cancer, cardiac development, immune response, lipid metabolism, and skeletal development in both genders, and altered expressions of genes related to the cellular process and neural development in females. However, mRNA expressions of chicken xenobiotic receptor (CXR)-mediated CYP genes were not induced in the PB treatment groups, regardless of males and females. On the contrary, PB exposure repressed the mRNA expressions of CYP2AC2 in males and CYP2R1, CYP3A37, and CYP8B1 in females. Although transcription factors (TFs) including SREBF1 and COUP-TFII were predicted to be commonly activated in both genders, some TFs were activated in a gender-dependent manner, such as PPARa in males and BRCA1 and IRF9 in females. Taken together, our results provided an insight into the mode of action of PB on the chicken embryos.

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Phenobarbital sodium salt