Chronic exposure to venlafaxine and increased water temperature reversibly alters microRNA in zebrafish gonads (Danio rerio)
Ikert, H., Craig, P.M.
MicroRNA (miRNA) are short, non-coding RNA that act by downregulating targeted mRNA transcripts. Only recently have they been used as endpoints in studies of aquatic toxicology. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of an antidepressant contaminant, venlafaxine (VFX), and increased temperature on specific microRNA levels in zebrafish (Danio rerio) reproductive tissue. Adult zebrafish were exposed to one of four conditions; control, 1 μg/L VFX (VFX), 32 °C (Temp), or 1 μg/L VFX + 32 °C (VFX & Temp) for 21 days. Half of the fish were returned to control conditions for a 21-day recovery period. RT-qPCR was performed to measure relative abundances of several miRNAs known to respond to antidepressant exposure: dre-miR-22b-3p, dre-miR-301a, dre-miR-140-5p, dre-let-7d-5p, dre-miR-210-5p, and dre-miR-457b-5p. After the exposure period, dre-miR-22b-3p and dre-miR-301a showed a significant downregulation in response to all treatments. In contrast, after the recovery period, there were no significant differences in microRNA abundance. These altered microRNA are predicted to target several genes, including phosphofructokinase, and are associated with ovarian pathologies. Combined, we have shown that VFX and increased water temperature alter miRNA abundances in zebrafish reproductive tissue, an effect correlated with a functional stress response and cell cycle dysregulation.