Decrypting the skeletal toxicity of vertebrates caused by environmental pollutants from an evolutionary perspective: From fish to mammals

Environ Res. 2024 Aug 15:255:119173. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.119173. Epub 2024 May 17.


The rapid development of modern society has led to an increasing severity in the generation of new pollutants and the significant emission of old pollutants, exerting considerable pressure on the ecological environment and posing a serious threat to both biological survival and human health. The skeletal system, as a vital supportive structure and functional unit in organisms, is pivotal in maintaining body shape, safeguarding internal organs, storing minerals, and facilitating blood cell production. Although previous studies have uncovered the toxic effects of pollutants on vertebrate skeletal systems, there is a lack of comprehensive literature reviews in this field. Hence, this paper systematically summarizes the toxic effects and mechanisms of environmental pollutants on the skeletons of vertebrates based on the evolutionary context from fish to mammals. Our findings reveal that current research mainly focuses on fish and mammals, and the identified impact mechanisms mainly involve the regulation of bone signaling pathways, oxidative stress response, endocrine system disorders, and immune system dysfunction. This study aims to provide a comprehensive and systematic understanding of research on skeletal toxicity, while also promoting further research and development in related fields.

Keywords: Environmental pollutants; Molecular mechanisms; Skeletal toxicity; Species evolution; Vertebrate organisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Environmental Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Fishes*
  • Mammals*
  • Vertebrates


  • Environmental Pollutants