Wirbisky SE, Weber GJ, Sepúlveda MS, Lin TL, Jannasch AS, Freeman JL. 2016. An embryonic atrazine exposure results in reproductive dysfunction in adult zebrafish and morphological alterations in their offspring. Sci Rep 19:21337, doi 10.1038/srep21337.
The herbicide atrazine, a suspected endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), frequently contaminates potable water supplies. Studies suggest alterations in the neuroendocrine system along the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis; however, most studies address either developmental, pubertal, or adulthood exposures, with few investigations regarding a developmental origins hypothesis. In this study, zebrafish were exposed to 0, 0.3, 3, or 30 parts per billion (ppb) atrazine through embryogenesis and then allowed to mature with no additional chemical exposure. Reproductive function, histopathology, hormone levels, offspring morphology, and the ovarian transcriptome were assessed. Embryonic atrazine exposure resulted in a significant increase in progesterone levels in the 3 and 30 ppb groups. A significant decrease in spawning and a significant increase in follicular atresia in the 30 ppb group were observed. In offspring, a decrease in the head length to body ratio in the 30 ppb group, along with a significant increase in head width to body ratio in the 0.3 and 3 ppb groups occurred. Transcriptomic alterations involved genes associated with endocrine system development and function, tissue development, and behavior. This study provides evidence to support atrazine as an EDC causing reproductive dysfunction and molecular alterations in adults exposed only during embryogenesis and morphological alterations in their offspring.