Effects of perinatal PBDE exposure on hepatic phase I, phase II, phase III, and deiodinase 1 gene expression involved in thyroid hormone metabolism in male rat pups

Toxicol Sci. 2009 Jan;107(1):27-39. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfn230. Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Previous studies demonstrated that perinatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a major class of brominated flame retardants, may affect thyroid hormone (TH) concentrations by inducing hepatic uridinediphosphate-glucoronosyltransferases (UGTs). This study further examines effects of the commercial penta mixture, DE-71, on genes related to TH metabolism at different developmental time points in male rats. DE-71 is predominately composed of PBDE congeners 47, 99, 100, 153, 154 with low levels of brominated dioxin and dibenzofuran contaminants. Pregnant Long-Evans rats were orally administered 1.7 (low), 10.2 (mid), or 30.6 (high) mg/kg/day of DE-71 in corn oil from gestational day (GD) 6 to postnatal day (PND) 21. Serum and liver were collected from male pups at PND 4, 21, and 60. Total serum thyroxine (T(4)) decreased to 57% (mid) and 51% (high) on PND 4, and 46% (mid) dose and 25% (high) on PND 21. Cyp1a1, Cyp2b1/2, and Cyp3a1 enzyme and mRNA expression, regulated by aryl hydrocarbon receptor, constitutive androstane receptor, and pregnane xenobiotic receptor, respectively, increased in a dose-dependent manner. UGT-T(4) enzymatic activity significantly increased, whereas age and dose-dependent effects were observed for Ugt1a6, 1a7, and 2b mRNA. Sult1b1 mRNA expression increased, whereas that of transthyretin (Ttr) decreased as did both the deiodinase I (D1) enzyme activity and mRNA expression. Hepatic efflux transporters Mdr1 (multidrug resistance), Mrp2 (multidrug resistance-associated protein), and Mrp3 and influx transporter Oatp1a4 mRNA expression increased. In this study the most sensitive responses to PBDEs following DE-71 exposure were CYP2B and D1 activities and Cyb2b1/2, d1, Mdr1, Mrp2, and Mrp3 gene expression. All responses were reversible by PND 60. In conclusion, deiodination, active transport, and sulfation, in addition to glucuronidation, may be involved in disruption of TH homeostasis due to perinatal exposure to DE-71 in male rat offspring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flame Retardants / administration & dosage
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / administration & dosage
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / chemistry
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism
  • Thyroxine / analysis*
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / analysis
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Triiodothyronine
  • pentabromodiphenyl ether
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Sulfotransferases
  • Thyroxine