Monosubstituted isopropylated triaryl phosphate (mITP) is a major component of Firemaster 550, an additive flame retardant mixture commonly used in polyurethane foams. Developmental toxicity studies in zebrafish established mITP as the most toxic component of FM 550, which causes pericardial edema and heart looping failure. Mechanistic studies showed that mITP is an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligand; however, the cardiotoxic effects of mITP were independent of the AhR. We performed comparative whole genome transcriptomics in wild-type and ahr2hu3335 zebrafish, which lack functional ahr2, to identify transcriptional signatures causally involved in the mechanism of mITP-induced cardiotoxicity. Regardless of ahr2 status, mITP exposure resulted in decreased expression of transcripts related to the synthesis of all-trans-retinoic acid and a host of Hox genes. Clustered gene ontology enrichment analysis showed unique enrichment in biological processes related to xenobiotic metabolism and response to external stimuli in wild-type samples. Transcript enrichments overlapping both genotypes involved the retinoid metabolic process and sensory/visual perception biological processes. Examination of the gene-gene interaction network of the differentially expressed transcripts in both genetic backgrounds demonstrated a strong AhR interaction network specific to wild-type samples, with overlapping genes regulated by retinoic acid receptors (RARs). A transcriptome analysis of control ahr2-null zebrafish identified potential cross-talk among AhR, Nrf2, and Hif1α. Collectively, we confirmed that mITP is an AhR ligand and present evidence in support of our hypothesis that mITP’s developmental cardiotoxic effects are mediated by inhibition at the RAR level.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by NIH P30 ES000210, T32 ES007060, P42 ES016465, and EPA #R835168.
© 2016 American Chemical Society.