Transcriptome reveals overview of Ca2+ dose-dependent metabolism disorders in zebrafish larvae after Cd2+ exposure

Bingsheng Zhou , Biran Zhu , Ziniu Wang , Lei Lei , Yongyong Guo , Jian Han


Received July 13, 2021,Revised , Accepted December 06, 2021, Available online December 21, 2021

Volume 35,2023,Pages 480-491

Cadmium (Cd), a ubiquitous environmental hazardous heavy metal, poses a significant threat to the health of aquatic organisms, including teleosts. Although the toxic profile of Cd is well recognized, little is known regarding the overall view of toxic responses to varying aquatic environmental parameters (e.g., water hardness) at an individual level. Herein, differences in water hardness were partially mimicked by adjusting Ca2+ levels in E3 medium. As an in vivo model, zebrafish embryos were exposed to variable Ca2+ levels (NV, normal Ca2+; LV, low Ca2+; HV, high Ca2+) alone or combined with 30.7 µg/L Cd2+ (NC, LC, and HC, respectively) until 144 hr post-fertilization. The genome-wide transcriptome revealed differentially expressed genes between groups. Functional enrichment analysis found that biological processes related to metabolism, particularly lipid metabolism, were significantly disrupted in NC and LC treatments, while a remission was observed in the HC group. Biochemical assays confirmed that the decrease in Ca2+ enhanced synthesis, inhibited mobilization and increased the storage of lipids in Cd2+ treatments. This study suggests that the toxic effect of Cd on biological pathways will be influenced by Ca2+, which will improve the toxicological understanding and facilitate accurate assessment of Cd.

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