Exposure to low doses of inorganic arsenic induces transgenerational changes on behavioral and epigenetic markers in zebrafish (Danio rerio)


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Abstract

The ability of environmental pollutants to alter the epigenome with resultant development of behavioral alterations has received more attention in recent years. These alterations can be transmitted and affect later generations that have not been directly in contact with the contaminant. Arsenic (As) is a neurotoxicant and potent epigenetic disruptor that is widespread in the environment; however, the precise potential of As to produce transgenerational effects is unknown. Our study focused on the possible transgenerational effects on behavior by ancestral exposure to doses relevant to the environment of As, and the epigenetic mechanisms that could be involved. Embryos of F0 (ancestral generation) were directly exposed to 50 or 500 ppb of As for 150 days. F0 adults were raised to produce the F1 generation (intergeneration) and subsequently the F2 generation (transgeneration). We evaluated motor and cognitive behavior, neurodevelopment-related genes, and epigenetic markers on the F0 and F2 generation. As proposed in our hypothesis, ancestral arsenic exposure altered motor activity through the development and increased anxiety-like behaviors which were transmitted to the F2 generation. Additionally, we found a reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression between the F0 and F2 generation, and an increase in methylation on histone H3K4me3 in the nervous system.HighlightsAncestral exposure to arsenic produces transgenerational effects on behaviorExploratory behavior is affected by transgenerational toxicityCardiotoxic effect can be passed down to subsequent generationsArsenic modified epigenetic marks transgenerationally in a sex-dependent manner

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