Effects of thyroid hormone disruption on the ontogenetic expression of thyroid hormone signaling genes in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Kyla M. Walter, Galen W. Miller, Xiaopeng Chen, Bianca Yaghoobi, Birgit Puschner, Pamela J. Lein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Thyroid hormones (THs) regulate neurodevelopment, thus TH disruption is widely posited as a mechanism of developmental neurotoxicity for diverse environmental chemicals. Zebrafish have been proposed as an alternative model for studying the role of TH in developmental neurotoxicity. To realize this goal, it is critical to characterize the normal ontogenetic expression profile of TH signaling molecules in the developing zebrafish and determine the sensitivity of these molecules to perturbations in TH levels. To address these gaps in the existing database, we characterized the transcriptional profiles of TH transporters, deiodinases (DIOs), receptors (TRs), nuclear coactivators (NCOAs), nuclear corepressors (NCORs), and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in parallel with measurements of endogenous TH concentrations and tshβ mRNA expression throughout the first five days of zebrafish development. Transcripts encoding these TH signaling components were identified and observed to be upregulated around 48–72 h post fertilization (hpf) concurrent with the onset of larval production of T4. Exposure to exogenous T4 and T3 upregulated mct8, dio3-b, trα-a, trβ and mbp-a levels, and downregulated expression of oatp1c1. Morpholino knockdown of TH transporter mct8 and treatment with 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU) was used to reduce cellular uptake and production of TH, an effect that was associated with downregulation of dio3-b at 120 hpf. Collectively, these data confirm that larval zebrafish express orthologs of TH signaling molecules important in mammalian development and suggest that there may be species differences with respect to impacts of TH disruption on gene transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocrine disruption
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Transcriptomics
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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