The developmental effects of pentachlorophenol on zebrafish embryos during segmentation: A systematic view

Sci Rep. 2016 May 16;6:25929. doi: 10.1038/srep25929.


Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a typical toxicant and prevailing pollutant whose toxicity has been broadly investigated. However, previous studies did not specifically investigate the underlying mechanisms of its developmental toxicity. Here, we chose zebrafish embryos as the model, exposed them to 2 different concentrations of PCP, and sequenced their entire transcriptomes at 10 and 24 hours post-fertilization (hpf). The sequencing analysis revealed that high concentrations of PCP elicited systematic responses at both time points. By combining the enrichment terms with single genes, the results were further analyzed using three categories: metabolism, transporters, and organogenesis. Hyperactive glycolysis was the most outstanding feature of the transcriptome at 10 hpf. The entire system seemed to be hypoxic, although hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) may have been suppressed by the upregulation of prolyl hydroxylase domain enzymes (PHDs). At 24 hpf, PCP primarily affected somitogenesis and lens formation probably resulting from the disruption of embryonic body plan at earlier stages. The proposed underlying toxicological mechanism of PCP was based on the crosstalk between each clue. Our study attempted to describe the developmental toxicity of environmental pollutants from a systematic view. Meanwhile, some features of gene expression profiling could serve as markers of human health or ecological risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / drug effects
  • Cleavage Stage, Ovum / drug effects
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / drug effects
  • Glycolysis / drug effects
  • Models, Animal
  • Pentachlorophenol / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Pentachlorophenol