Arsenic (As) and disinfection by-products are important health risk factors in the water environment. However, their combined effects on different cell populations in the liver are not well known. Here, zebrafish were exposed to 100 μg/L As, 300 μg/L 2,2-dichloroacetamide (DCAcAm), and their combination for 23 days. Then transcriptome profiles of cell populations in zebrafish liver were analyzed by single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). A total of 13,563 cells were obtained, which were identified as hepatocytes, hepatic duct cells, endothelial cells and macrophages. Hepatocytes were the main target cell subtype of As and DCAcAm exposures. DCAcAm exposure induced higher toxicity in male hepatocytes, which specifically changed amino acid metabolism, response to hormone and cofactor metabolism. However, As exposure caused higher toxicity in female hepatocytes, which altered lipid metabolism, carbon metabolism, and peroxisome. Combined exposure to As and DCAcAm decreased toxicities in hepatocytes compared to each one alone. Female hepatocytes had higher tolerance to co-exposure of As and DCAcAm than male hepatocytes. Further, combined exposure to As and DCAcAm induced functional changes in macrophages similar to As alone groups, which mainly altered the transfer of sterol and cholesterol. Hepatic duct cells and endothelial cells were not influenced by exposures to As and DCAcAm. This study for the first time highlights the cell-specific combined responses of As and DCAcAm in zebrafish liver, which provide useful information for their health risk assessment in a co-exposure environment.
Keywords: 2,2-Dichloroacetamide; Arsenic; Combined toxicity; Hepatocytes; Single-cell transcriptome.
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