Publications by authors named "Gerald T Ankley"

187 Publications

Assessing effects of aromatase inhibition on fishes with group-synchronous oocyte development using western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a model.

Aquat Toxicol 2021 Jan 5;232:105741. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 6201 Congdon Boulevard, Duluth, MN, 55804, United States.

Exposure to certain anthropogenic chemicals can inhibit the activity to cytochrome P450 aromatase (CYP19) in fishes leading to decreased plasma 17β-estradiol (E2), plasma vitellogenin (VTG), and egg production. Reproductive dysfunction resulting from exposure to aromatase inhibitors has been extensively investigated in several laboratory model species of fish. These model species have ovaries that undergo asynchronous oocyte development, but many fishes have ovaries with group-synchronous oocyte development. Fishes with group-synchronous oocyte development have dynamic reproductive cycles which typically occur annually and are often triggered by complex environmental cues. This has resulted in a lack of test data and uncertainty regarding sensitivities to and adverse effects of aromatase inhibition. The present study used the western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a laboratory model to investigate adverse effects of chemical aromatase inhibition on group-synchronous oocyte development. Adult female western mosquitofish were exposed to either 0, 2, or 30 μg/L of the model nonsteroidal aromatase inhibiting chemical, fadrozole, for a complete reproductive cycle. Fish were sampled at four time-points representing pre-vitellogenic resting, early vitellogenesis, late vitellogenesis/early ovarian recrudescence, and late ovarian recrudescence. Temporal changes in numerous reproductive parameters were measured, including gonadosomatic index (GSI), plasma sex steroids, and expression of selected genes in the brain, liver, and gonad that are important for reproduction. In contrast to fish from the control treatment, fish exposed to 2 and 30 μg/L of fadrozole had persistent elevated expression of cyp19 in the ovary, depressed expression of vtg in the liver, and a low GSI. These responses suggest that completion of a group-synchronous reproductive cycle was unsuccessful during the assay in fish from either fadrozole treatment. These adverse effects data show that exposure to aromatase inhibitors has the potential to cause reproductive dysfunction in a wide range of fishes with both asynchronous and group-synchronous reproductive strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105741DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8255332PMC
January 2021

Conversion of Estrone to 17β-Estradiol: A Potential Confounding Factor in Assessing Risks of Environmental Estrogens to Fish.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2020 10 1;39(10):2028-2040. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Feminization of male fish and the role of endocrine-active chemicals in this phenomenon has been an area of intense study for many years. Estrone (E1), a natural steroid, is found in aquatic environments sometimes at high concentrations relative to the estrogenic steroids 17β-estradiol (E2) and 17α-ethynylestradiol. However, E1 has been less thoroughly studied than E2 or 17α-ethynylestradiol due in part to a relatively lower potency in metabolically limited estrogen receptor (ER) binding/activation assays. Recent evidence suggests that in vivo biotransformation of E1 to E2 may occur in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) residing in environments with high concentrations of E1, such as near wastewater treatment plants. The enzymes likely responsible for this biotransformation, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (17βHSDs), have been well characterized in mammals but to a lesser extent in fish species. In the present study, a novel systematic analysis of amino acid sequence data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information database demonstrated that multiple 17βHSD isoforms are conserved across different fish species. Experimentally, we showed that metabolically active hepatic cytosolic preparations from 2 commercially important salmonid species, rainbow trout and lake trout, biotransformed E1 to E2 to a degree sufficient to alter results of competitive ER binding assays. These results from in silico and in vitro analyses indicate that E1 and biotransformation may play a significant role in adverse effects on development and reproduction of a variety of fish species in contaminated aquatic environments. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:2028-2040. Published 2020. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4828DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8015245PMC
October 2020

Simultaneous determination of a suite of endogenous steroids by LC-APPI-MS: Application to the identification of endocrine disruptors in aquatic toxicology.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2021 Jan 24;1163:122513. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

US EPA, Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, 6201 Congdon Blvd, Duluth, MN 55804, USA.

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) can alter steroid hormone production in vertebrates, sometimes leading to adverse reproductive or developmental effects. Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methods are the gold standard for analyte confirmation and quantification in biological matrices, but radioimmunoassays (RIAs) are most commonly used for measurement of select steroid hormones in aquatic toxicology studies. Existing methods for steroid quantification often employ derivatization, limiting the range of steroids that can be simultaneously measured in a single process. In the current study, a method for the simultaneous measurement of thirteen endogenous steroids in small sample volumes without derivatization using liquid chromatography atmospheric pressure photoionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-APPI-MS/MS) was developed. Several physiologically important steroids, including 11-deoxycortisol, 11-ketotestosterone, 17α- and 17β-estradiol, 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, 17,20β-dihydroxyprogesterone, 17,20β,21-trihydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione, cortisol, estriol, estrone, progesterone, and testosterone, were selected for the analysis. The method was validated for application to small volumes of fish plasma and fish holding water. Method detection limits using only 10 µL of plasma ranged from 0.05 to 1.0 ng/mL. As a potential surrogate for plasma steroid measurements, fish holding water was analyzed to measure excreted steroids. Lower limits of quantification when using 0.25 L of water ranged from 0.05 to 1.0 ng/L. The validated method was applied to two different experiments with small fish species exposed to an EDC known to affect steroid synthesis, fadrozole. Concentrations of the 13 steroids were measured in plasma or holding water from the studies. This work demonstrates the potential application of the developed method to measure endogenous steroids for identification of EDCs in aquatic toxicology studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2020.122513DOI Listing
January 2021

Case Study in 21st Century Ecotoxicology: Using In Vitro Aromatase Inhibition Data to Predict Short-Term In Vivo Responses in Adult Female Fish.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2021 Apr 10;40(4):1155-1170. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, Duluth, Minnesota.

The present study evaluated whether in vitro measures of aromatase inhibition as inputs into a quantitative adverse outcome pathway (qAOP) construct could effectively predict in vivo effects on 17β-estradiol (E2) and vitellogenin (VTG) concentrations in female fathead minnows. Five chemicals identified as aromatase inhibitors in mammalian-based ToxCast assays were screened for their ability to inhibit fathead minnow aromatase in vitro. Female fathead minnows were then exposed to 3 of those chemicals: letrozole, epoxiconazole, and imazalil in concentration-response (5 concentrations plus control) for 24 h. Consistent with AOP-based expectations, all 3 chemicals caused significant reductions in plasma E2 and hepatic VTG transcription. Characteristic compensatory upregulation of aromatase and follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (fshr) transcripts in the ovary were observed for letrozole but not for the other 2 compounds. Considering the overall patterns of concentration-response and temporal concordance among endpoints, data from the in vivo experiments strengthen confidence in the qualitative relationships outlined by the AOP. Quantitatively, the qAOP model provided predictions that fell within the standard error of measured data for letrozole but not for imazalil and epoxiconazole. However, the inclusion of measured plasma concentrations of the test chemicals as inputs improved model predictions, with all predictions falling within the range of measured values. Results highlight both the utility and limitations of the qAOP and its potential use in 21st century ecotoxicology. Environ Toxicol Chem 2021;40:1155-1170. © 2020 SETAC. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4968DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127875PMC
April 2021

Assessing the Ecological Risks of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Current State-of-the Science and a Proposed Path Forward.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2021 Mar 6;40(3):564-605. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Water Research Institute, National Research Council, Brugherio, Monza and Brianza, Italy.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) encompass a large, heterogenous group of chemicals of potential concern to human health and the environment. Based on information for a few relatively well-understood PFAS such as perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoate, there is ample basis to suspect that at least a subset can be considered persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic. However, data suitable for determining risks in either prospective or retrospective assessments are lacking for the majority of PFAS. In August 2019, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry sponsored a workshop that focused on the state-of-the-science supporting risk assessment of PFAS. The present review summarizes discussions concerning the ecotoxicology and ecological risks of PFAS. First, we summarize currently available information relevant to problem formulation/prioritization, exposure, and hazard/effects of PFAS in the context of regulatory and ecological risk assessment activities from around the world. We then describe critical gaps and uncertainties relative to ecological risk assessments for PFAS and propose approaches to address these needs. Recommendations include the development of more comprehensive monitoring programs to support exposure assessment, an emphasis on research to support the formulation of predictive models for bioaccumulation, and the development of in silico, in vitro, and in vivo methods to efficiently assess biological effects for potentially sensitive species/endpoints. Addressing needs associated with assessing the ecological risk of PFAS will require cross-disciplinary approaches that employ both conventional and new methods in an integrated, resource-effective manner. Environ Toxicol Chem 2021;40:564-605. © 2020 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7984443PMC
March 2021

Toward an AOP Network-Based Tiered Testing Strategy for the Assessment of Thyroid Hormone Disruption.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 07 9;54(14):8491-8499. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Zebrafishlab, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.

A growing number of environmental pollutants are known to adversely affect the thyroid hormone system, and major gaps have been identified in the tools available for the identification, and the hazard and risk assessment of these thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals. We provide an example of how the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework and associated data generation can address current testing challenges in the context of fish early life stage tests, and fish tests in general. We demonstrate how a suite of assays covering biological processes involved in the underlying toxicological pathways can be implemented in a tiered screening and testing approach for thyroid hormone disruption, using the levels of assessment of the OECD's Conceptual Framework for the Testing and Assessment of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals as a guide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477622PMC
July 2020

Toward Sustainable Environmental Quality: Priority Research Questions for Asia.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2020 08 20;39(8):1485-1505. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Environmental and human health challenges are pronounced in Asia, an exceptionally diverse and complex region where influences of global megatrends are extensive and numerous stresses to environmental quality exist. Identifying priorities necessary to engage grand challenges can be facilitated through horizon scanning exercises, and to this end we identified and examined 23 priority research questions needed to advance toward more sustainable environmental quality in Asia, as part of the Global Horizon Scanning Project. Advances in environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, biological monitoring, and risk-assessment methodologies are necessary to address the adverse impacts of environmental stressors on ecosystem services and biodiversity, with Asia being home to numerous biodiversity hotspots. Intersections of the food-energy-water nexus are profound in Asia; innovative and aggressive technologies are necessary to provide clean water, ensure food safety, and stimulate energy efficiency, while improving ecological integrity and addressing legacy and emerging threats to public health and the environment, particularly with increased aquaculture production. Asia is the largest chemical-producing continent globally. Accordingly, sustainable and green chemistry and engineering present decided opportunities to stimulate innovation and realize a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Engaging the priority research questions identified herein will require transdisciplinary coordination through existing and nontraditional partnerships within and among countries and sectors. Answering these questions will not be easy but is necessary to achieve more sustainable environmental quality in Asia. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:1485-1505. © 2020 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4788DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496081PMC
August 2020

Effect of Thyroperoxidase and Deiodinase Inhibition on Anterior Swim Bladder Inflation in the Zebrafish.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 05 29;54(10):6213-6223. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

Zebrafishlab, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.

A set of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) linking inhibition of thyroperoxidase and deiodinase to impaired swim bladder inflation in fish has recently been developed. These AOPs help to establish links between these thyroid hormone (TH) disrupting molecular events and adverse outcomes relevant to aquatic ecological risk assessment. Until now, very little data on the effects of TH disruption on inflation of the anterior chamber (AC) of the swim bladder were available. The present study used zebrafish exposure experiments with three model compounds with distinct thyroperoxidase and deiodinase inhibition potencies (methimazole, iopanoic acid, and propylthiouracil) to evaluate this linkage. Exposure to all three chemicals decreased whole body triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations, either through inhibition of thyroxine (T4) synthesis or through inhibition of Dio mediated conversion of T4 to T3. A quantitative relationship between reduced T3 and reduced AC inflation was established, a critical key event relationship linking impaired swim bladder inflation to TH disruption. Reduced inflation of the AC was directly linked to reductions in swimming distance compared to controls as well as to chemical-exposed fish whose ACs inflated. Together the data provide compelling support for AOPs linking TH disruption to impaired AC inflation in fish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477623PMC
May 2020

A method for CRISPR/Cas9 mutation of genes in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas).

Aquat Toxicol 2020 May 2;222:105464. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, 6201 Congdon Blvd., Duluth, MN, 55804, USA.

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 genome editing allows for the disruption or modification of genes in a multitude of model organisms. In the present study, we describe and employ the method for use in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), in part, to assist in the development and validation of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). The gene coding for an enzyme responsible for melanin production, tyrosinase (tyr), was the initial target chosen for development and assessment of the method since its disruption results in abnormal pigmentation, a phenotype obvious within 3-4 d after injection of fathead minnow embryos. Three tyrosinase-targeting guide strands were generated using the fathead minnow sequence in tandem with the CRISPOR guide strand selection tool. The strands targeted two areas: one stretch of sequence in a conserved region that demonstrated homology to EGF-like or laminin-like domains as determined by Protein Basic Local Alignment Search Tool in concert with the Conserved Domain Database, and a second area in the N-terminal region of the tyrosinase domain. To generate one cell embryos, in vitro fertilization was performed, allowing for microinjection of hundreds of developmentally-synchronized embryos with Cas9 proteins complexed to each of the three guide strands. Altered retinal pigmentation was observed in a portion of the tyr guide strand injected population within 3 d post fertilization (dpf). By 14 dpf, fish without skin and swim bladder pigmentation were observed. Among the three guide strands injected, the guide targeting the EGF/laminin-like domain was most effective in generating mutants. CRISPR greatly advances our ability to directly investigate gene function in fathead minnow, allowing for advanced approaches to AOP validation and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105464DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280908PMC
May 2020

Adverse Outcome Pathway Network-Based Assessment of the Interactive Effects of an Androgen Receptor Agonist and an Aromatase Inhibitor on Fish Endocrine Function.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2020 04 21;39(4):913-922. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Predictive approaches to assessing the toxicity of contaminant mixtures have been largely limited to chemicals that exert effects through the same biological molecular initiating event. However, by understanding specific pathways through which chemicals exert effects, it may be possible to identify shared "downstream" nodes as the basis for forecasting interactive effects of chemicals with different molecular initiating events. Adverse outcome pathway (AOP) networks conceptually support this type of analysis. We assessed the utility of a simple AOP network for predicting the effects of mixtures of an aromatase inhibitor (fadrozole) and an androgen receptor agonist (17β-trenbolone) on aspects of reproductive endocrine function in female fathead minnows. The fish were exposed to multiple concentrations of fadrozole and 17β-trenbolone individually or in combination for 48 or 96 h. Effects on 2 shared nodes in the AOP network, plasma 17β-estradiol (E2) concentration and vitellogenin (VTG) production (measured as hepatic vtg transcripts) responded as anticipated to fadrozole alone but were minimally impacted by 17β-trenbolone alone. Overall, there were indications that 17β-trenbolone enhanced decreases in E2 and vtg in fadrozole-exposed fish, as anticipated, but the results often were not statistically significant. Failure to consistently observe hypothesized interactions between fadrozole and 17β-trenbolone could be due to several factors, including lack of impact of 17β-trenbolone, inherent biological variability in the endpoints assessed, and/or an incomplete understanding of interactions (including feedback) between different pathways within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:913-922. © 2020 SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4668DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7357796PMC
April 2020

Prioritizing chemicals of ecological concern in Great Lakes tributaries using high-throughput screening data and adverse outcome pathways.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Oct 5;686:995-1009. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

U.S. Geological Survey, Boise, ID 83702, United States.

Chemical monitoring data were collected in surface waters from 57 Great Lakes tributaries from 2010 to 13 to identify chemicals of potential biological relevance and sites at which these chemicals occur. Traditional water-quality benchmarks for aquatic life based on in vivo toxicity data were available for 34 of 67 evaluated chemicals. To expand evaluation of potential biological effects, measured chemical concentrations were compared to chemical-specific biological activities determined in high-throughput (ToxCast) in vitro assays. Resulting exposure-activity ratios (EARs) were used to prioritize the chemicals of greatest potential concern: 4‑nonylphenol, bisphenol A, metolachlor, atrazine, DEET, caffeine, tris(2‑butoxyethyl) phosphate, tributyl phosphate, triphenyl phosphate, benzo(a)pyrene, fluoranthene, and benzophenone. Water-quality benchmarks were unavailable for five of these chemicals, but for the remaining seven, EAR-based prioritization was consistent with that based on toxicity quotients calculated from benchmarks. Water-quality benchmarks identified three additional PAHs (anthracene, phenanthrene, and pyrene) not prioritized using EARs. Through this analysis, an EAR of 10 was identified as a reasonable threshold above which a chemical might be of potential concern. To better understand apical hazards potentially associated with biological activities captured in ToxCast assays, in vitro bioactivity data were matched with available adverse outcome pathway (AOP) information. The 49 ToxCast assays prioritized via EAR analysis aligned with 23 potentially-relevant AOPs present in the AOP-Wiki. Mixture effects at monitored sites were estimated by summation of EAR values for multiple chemicals by individual assay or individual AOP. Commonly predicted adverse outcomes included impacts on reproduction and mitochondrial function. The EAR approach provided a screening-level assessment for evidence-based prioritization of chemicals and sites with potential for adverse biological effects. The approach aids prioritization of future monitoring activities and provides testable hypotheses to help focus those efforts. This also expands the fraction of detected chemicals for which biologically-based benchmark concentrations are available to help contextualize chemical monitoring results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.457DOI Listing
October 2019

Quantitative Response-Response Relationships Linking Aromatase Inhibition to Decreased Fecundity are Conserved Across Three Fishes with Asynchronous Oocyte Development.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 Sep 14;53(17):10470-10478. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Mid-Continent Ecology Division , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , Duluth , Minnesota 55804 United States.

Quantitative adverse outcome pathways (qAOPs) describe quantitative response-response relationships that can predict the probability or severity of an adverse outcome for a given magnitude of chemical interaction with a molecular initiating event. However, the taxonomic domain of applicability for these predictions is largely untested. The present study began defining this applicability for a previously described qAOP for aromatase inhibition leading to decreased fecundity developed using data from fathead minnow (). This qAOP includes quantitative response-response relationships describing plasma 17β-estradiol (E2) as a function of plasma fadrozole, plasma vitellogenin (VTG) as a function of plasma E2, and fecundity as a function of plasma VTG. These quantitative response-response relationships simulated plasma E2, plasma VTG, and fecundity measured in female zebrafish () exposed to fadrozole for 21 days but not these responses measured in female Japanese medaka (). However, Japanese medaka had different basal levels of plasma E2, plasma VTG, and fecundity. Normalizing basal levels of each measurement to equal those of female fathead minnow enabled the relationships to accurately simulate plasma E2, plasma VTG, and fecundity measured in female Japanese medaka. This suggests that these quantitative response-response relationships are conserved across these three fishes when considering relative change rather than absolute measurements. The present study represents an early step toward defining the appropriate taxonomic domain of applicability and extending the regulatory applications of this qAOP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b02606DOI Listing
September 2019

Toward Sustainable Environmental Quality: Priority Research Questions for North America.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2019 08;38(8):1606-1624

FMC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Anticipating, identifying, and prioritizing strategic needs represent essential activities by research organizations. Decided benefits emerge when these pursuits engage globally important environment and health goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, horizon scanning efforts can facilitate identification of specific research needs to address grand challenges. We report and discuss 40 priority research questions following engagement of scientists and engineers in North America. These timely questions identify the importance of stimulating innovation and developing new methods, tools, and concepts in environmental chemistry and toxicology to improve assessment and management of chemical contaminants and other diverse environmental stressors. Grand challenges to achieving sustainable management of the environment are becoming increasingly complex and structured by global megatrends, which collectively challenge existing sustainable environmental quality efforts. Transdisciplinary, systems-based approaches will be required to define and avoid adverse biological effects across temporal and spatial gradients. Similarly, coordinated research activities among organizations within and among countries are necessary to address the priority research needs reported here. Acquiring answers to these 40 research questions will not be trivial, but doing so promises to advance sustainable environmental quality in the 21st century. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:1606-1624. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6852658PMC
August 2019

Differential Sensitivity to In Vitro Inhibition of Cytochrome P450 Aromatase (CYP19) Activity Among 18 Freshwater Fishes.

Toxicol Sci 2019 08;170(2):394-403

Mid-Continent Ecology Division.

There is significant concern regarding potential impairment of fish reproduction associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals. Aromatase (CYP19) is a steroidogenic enzyme involved in the conversion of androgens to estrogens. Inhibition of aromatase by chemicals can result in reduced concentrations of estrogens leading to adverse reproductive effects. These effects have been extensively investigated in a small number of laboratory model fishes, such as fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), and zebrafish (Danio rerio). But, differences in sensitivity among species are largely unknown. Therefore, this study took a first step toward understanding potential differences in sensitivity to aromatase inhibitors among fishes. Specifically, a standard in vitro aromatase inhibition assay using subcellular fractions of whole tissue homogenates was used to evaluate the potential sensitivity of 18 phylogenetically diverse species of freshwater fish to the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor fadrozole. Sensitivity to fadrozole ranged by more than 52-fold among these species. Five species were further investigated for sensitivity to up to 4 additional nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors, letrozole, imazalil, prochloraz, and propiconazole. Potencies of each of these chemicals relative to fadrozole ranged by up to 2 orders of magnitude among the 5 species. Fathead minnow, Japanese medaka, and zebrafish were among the least sensitive to all the investigated chemicals; therefore, ecological risks of aromatase inhibitors derived from these species might not be adequately protective of more sensitive native fishes. This information could guide more objective ecological risk assessments of native fishes to chemicals that inhibit aromatase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfz115DOI Listing
August 2019

Potential Toxicity of Complex Mixtures in Surface Waters from a Nationwide Survey of United States Streams: Identifying in Vitro Bioactivities and Causative Chemicals.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 01 21;53(2):973-983. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

U.S. EPA, Mid-Continent Ecology Division , 6201 Congdon Boulevard , Duluth , Minnesota 55804 , United States.

While chemical analysis of contaminant mixtures remains an essential component of environmental monitoring, bioactivity-based assessments using in vitro systems increasingly are used in the detection of biological effects. Historically, in vitro assessments focused on a few biological pathways, for example, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) or estrogen receptor (ER) activities. High-throughput screening (HTS) technologies have greatly increased the number of biological targets and processes that can be rapidly assessed. Here we screened extracts of surface waters from a nationwide survey of United States streams for bioactivities associated with 69 different end points using two multiplexed HTS assays. Bioactivity of extracts from 38 streams was evaluated and compared with concentrations of over 700 analytes to identify chemicals contributing to observed effects. Eleven primary biological end points were detected. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) and AhR-mediated activities were the most commonly detected. Measured chemicals did not completely account for AhR and PXR responses. Surface waters with AhR and PXR effects were associated with low intensity, developed land cover. Likewise, elevated bioactivities frequently associated with wastewater discharges included endocrine-related end points ER and glucocorticoid receptor. These results underscore the value of bioassay-based monitoring of environmental mixtures for detecting biological effects that could not be ascertained solely through chemical analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b05304DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467772PMC
January 2019

Evidence for Cross Species Extrapolation of Mammalian-Based High-Throughput Screening Assay Results.

Environ Sci Technol 2018 12 13;52(23):13960-13971. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Mid-Continent Ecology Division , US Environmental Protection Agency , 6201 Congdon Blvd. , Duluth , Minnesota 55804 , United States.

High-throughput screening (HTS) and computational technologies have emerged as important tools for chemical hazard identification. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Toxicity ForeCaster (ToxCast) Program, which has screened thousands of chemicals in hundreds of mammalian-based HTS assays for biological activity. The data are being used to prioritize toxicity testing on those chemicals likely to lead to adverse effects. To use HTS assays in predicting hazard to both humans and wildlife, it is necessary to understand how broadly these data may be extrapolated across species. The US EPA Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility (SeqAPASS; https://seqapass.epa.gov/seqapass/ ) tool was used to assess conservation of the 484 protein targets represented in the suite of ToxCast assays and other HTS assays. To demonstrate the utility of the SeqAPASS data for guiding extrapolation, case studies were developed which focused on targets of interest to the US Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. These case studies provide a line of evidence for conservation of endocrine targets across vertebrate species, with few exceptions, and demonstrate the utility of SeqAPASS for defining the taxonomic domain of applicability for HTS results and identifying organisms for suitable follow-up toxicity tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b04587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283686PMC
December 2018

Harvesting the promise of AOPs: An assessment and recommendations.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Jul 22;628-629:1542-1556. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

US Environmental Protection Agency, 6201 Congdon Blvd, Duluth, MN 55804, USA. Electronic address:

The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept is a knowledge assembly and communication tool to facilitate the transparent translation of mechanistic information into outcomes meaningful to the regulatory assessment of chemicals. The AOP framework and associated knowledgebases (KBs) have received significant attention and use in the regulatory toxicology community. However, it is increasingly apparent that the potential stakeholder community for the AOP concept and AOP KBs is broader than scientists and regulators directly involved in chemical safety assessment. In this paper we identify and describe those stakeholders who currently-or in the future-could benefit from the application of the AOP framework and knowledge to specific problems. We also summarize the challenges faced in implementing pathway-based approaches such as the AOP framework in biological sciences, and provide a series of recommendations to meet critical needs to ensure further progression of the framework as a useful, sustainable and dependable tool supporting assessments of both human health and the environment. Although the AOP concept has the potential to significantly impact the organization and interpretation of biological information in a variety of disciplines/applications, this promise can only be fully realized through the active engagement of, and input from multiple stakeholders, requiring multi-pronged substantive long-term planning and strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5888775PMC
July 2018

Toward sustainable environmental quality: Priority research questions for Europe.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2018 09 19;37(9):2281-2295. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Blue Frog Scientific, Quantum House, Edinburgh, UK.

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals have been established to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals will require a healthy and productive environment. An understanding of the impacts of chemicals which can negatively impact environmental health is therefore essential to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, current research on and regulation of chemicals in the environment tend to take a simplistic view and do not account for the complexity of the real world, which inhibits the way we manage chemicals. There is therefore an urgent need for a step change in the way we study and communicate the impacts and control of chemicals in the natural environment. To do this requires the major research questions to be identified so that resources are focused on questions that really matter. We present the findings of a horizon-scanning exercise to identify research priorities of the European environmental science community around chemicals in the environment. Using the key questions approach, we identified 22 questions of priority. These questions covered overarching questions about which chemicals we should be most concerned about and where, impacts of global megatrends, protection goals, and sustainability of chemicals; the development and parameterization of assessment and management frameworks; and mechanisms to maximize the impact of the research. The research questions identified provide a first-step in the path forward for the research, regulatory, and business communities to better assess and manage chemicals in the natural environment. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:2281-2295. © 2018 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214210PMC
September 2018

Gene transcription ontogeny of hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis development in early-life stage fathead minnow and zebrafish.

Gen Comp Endocrinol 2018 09 4;266:87-100. Epub 2018 May 4.

University of Antwerp, Zebrafishlab, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Dept. Veterinary Sciences, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium. Electronic address:

The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis is known to play a crucial role in the development of teleost fish. However, knowledge of endogenous transcription profiles of thyroid-related genes in developing teleosts remains fragmented. We selected two model teleost species, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and the zebrafish (Danio rerio), to compare the gene transcription ontogeny of the HPT axis. Control organisms were sampled at several time points during embryonic and larval development until 33 days post-fertilization. Total RNA was extracted from pooled, whole fish, and thyroid-related mRNA expression was evaluated using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Gene transcripts examined included: thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptor (trhr), thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (tshr), sodium-iodide symporter (nis), thyroid peroxidase (tpo), thyroglobulin (tg), transthyretin (ttr), deiodinases 1, 2, 3a, and 3b (dio1, dio2, dio3a and 3b), and thyroid hormone receptors alpha and beta (thrα and β). A loess regression method was successful in identifying maxima and minima of transcriptional expression during early development of both species. Overall, we observed great similarities between the species, including maternal transfer, at least to some extent, of almost all transcripts (confirmed in unfertilized eggs), increasing expression of most transcripts during hatching and embryo-larval transition, and indications of a fully functional HPT axis in larvae. These data will aid in the development of hypotheses on the role of certain genes and pathways during development. Furthermore, this provides a background reference dataset for designing and interpreting targeted transcriptional expression studies both for fundamental research and for applications such as toxicology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.05.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6540109PMC
September 2018

An AOP-based alternative testing strategy to predict the impact of thyroid hormone disruption on swim bladder inflation in zebrafish.

Aquat Toxicol 2018 Jul 21;200:1-12. Epub 2018 Apr 21.

Zebrafishlab, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium. Electronic address:

The adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework can be used to help support the development of alternative testing strategies aimed at predicting adverse outcomes caused by triggering specific toxicity pathways. In this paper, we present a case-study demonstrating the selection of alternative in chemico assays targeting the molecular initiating events of established AOPs, and evaluate use of the resulting data to predict higher level biological endpoints. Based on two AOPs linking inhibition of the deiodinase (DIO) enzymes to impaired posterior swim bladder inflation in fish, we used in chemico enzyme inhibition assays to measure the molecular initiating events for an array of 51 chemicals. Zebrafish embryos were then exposed to 14 compounds with different measured inhibition potentials. Effects on posterior swim bladder inflation, predicted based on the information captured by the AOPs, were evaluated. By linking the two datasets and setting thresholds, we were able to demonstrate that the in chemico dataset can be used to predict biological effects on posterior chamber inflation, with only two outliers out of the 14 tested compounds. Our results show how information organized using the AOP framework can be employed to develop or select alternative assays, and successfully forecast downstream key events along the AOP. In general, such in chemico assays could serve as a first-tier high-throughput system to screen and prioritize chemicals for subsequent acute and chronic fish testing, potentially reducing the need for long-term and costly toxicity tests requiring large numbers of animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2018.04.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6002951PMC
July 2018

A critical review of the environmental occurrence and potential effects in aquatic vertebrates of the potent androgen receptor agonist 17β-trenbolone.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2018 08 5;37(8):2064-2078. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

CSIRO Land and Water, Waite Campus, South Australia, Australia.

Trenbolone acetate is widely used in some parts of the world for its desirable anabolic effects on livestock. Several metabolites of the acetate, including 17β-trenbolone, have been detected at low nanograms per liter concentrations in surface waters associated with animal feedlots. The 17β-trenbolone isomer can affect androgen receptor signaling pathways in various vertebrate species at comparatively low concentrations/doses. The present article provides a comprehensive review and synthesis of the existing literature concerning exposure to and biological effects of 17β-trenbolone, with an emphasis on potential risks to aquatic animals. In vitro studies indicate that, although 17β-trenbolone can activate several nuclear hormone receptors, its highest affinity is for the androgen receptor in all vertebrate taxa examined, including fish. Exposure of fish to nanograms per liter water concentrations of 17β-trenbolone can cause changes in endocrine function in the short term, and adverse apical effects in longer exposures during development and reproduction. Impacts on endocrine function typically are indicative of inappropriate androgen receptor signaling, such as changes in sex steroid metabolism, impacts on gonadal stage, and masculinization of females. Exposure of fish to 17β-trenbolone during sexual differentiation in early development can greatly skew sex ratios, whereas adult exposures can adversely impact fertility and fecundity. To fully assess ecosystem-level risks, additional research is warranted to address uncertainties as to the degree/breadth of environmental exposures and potential population-level effects of 17β-trenbolone in sensitive species. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:2064-2078. Published 2018 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4163DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6129983PMC
August 2018

The Adverse Outcome Pathway: A Multifaceted Framework Supporting 21 Century Toxicology.

Curr Opin Toxicol 2018 Jun;9:1-7

US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Integrated Systems Toxicology Division, RTP, NC, USA.

The adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework serves as a knowledge assembly, interpretation, and communication tool designed to support the translation of pathway-specific mechanistic data into responses relevant to assessing and managing risks of chemicals to human health and the environment. As such, AOPs facilitate the use of data streams often not employed by risk assessors, including information from models, assays and short-term tests with molecular/biochemical endpoints. This translational capability can increase the capacity and efficiency of safety assessments both for single chemicals and chemical mixtures. Our mini-review describes the conceptual basis of the AOP framework and aspects of its current status relative to use by toxicologists and risk assessors, including four illustrative applications of the framework to diverse assessment scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cotox.2018.03.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5906804PMC
June 2018

Differentiating Pathway-Specific From Nonspecific Effects in High-Throughput Toxicity Data: A Foundation for Prioritizing Adverse Outcome Pathway Development.

Toxicol Sci 2018 06;163(2):500-515

U.S. EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, 6201 Congdon Blvd, Duluth, MN 55804.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ToxCast program has screened thousands of chemicals for biological activity, primarily using high-throughput in vitro bioassays. Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) offer a means to link pathway-specific biological activities with potential apical effects relevant to risk assessors. Thus, efforts are underway to develop AOPs relevant to pathway-specific perturbations detected in ToxCast assays. Previous work identified a "cytotoxic burst" (CTB) phenomenon wherein large numbers of the ToxCast assays begin to respond at or near test chemical concentrations that elicit cytotoxicity, and a statistical approach to defining the bounds of the CTB was developed. To focus AOP development on the molecular targets corresponding to ToxCast assays indicating pathway-specific effects, we conducted a meta-analysis to identify which assays most frequently respond at concentrations below the CTB. A preliminary list of potentially important, target-specific assays was determined by ranking assays by the fraction of chemical hits below the CTB compared with the number of chemicals tested. Additional priority assays were identified using a diagnostic-odds-ratio approach which gives greater ranking to assays with high specificity but low responsivity. Combined, the two prioritization methods identified several novel targets (e.g., peripheral benzodiazepine and progesterone receptors) to prioritize for AOP development, and affirmed the importance of a number of existing AOPs aligned with ToxCast targets (e.g., thyroperoxidase, estrogen receptor, aromatase). The prioritization approaches did not appear to be influenced by inter-assay differences in chemical bioavailability. Furthermore, the outcomes were robust based on a variety of different parameters used to define the CTB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfy049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6820004PMC
June 2018

High-resolution mass spectrometry of skin mucus for monitoring physiological impacts and contaminant biotransformation products in fathead minnows exposed to wastewater effluent.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2018 03 8;37(3):788-796. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

National Exposure Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Athens, Georgia.

High-resolution mass spectrometry is advantageous for monitoring physiological impacts and contaminant biotransformation products in fish exposed to complex wastewater effluent. We evaluated this technique using skin mucus from male and female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to control water or treated wastewater effluent at 5, 20, and 100% levels for 21 d, using an on-site, flow-through system providing real-time exposure. Both sex-specific and non-sex-specific responses were observed in the mucus metabolome, the latter suggesting the induction of general compensatory pathways for xenobiotic exposures. Altogether, 85 statistically significant treatment-dependent metabolite changes were observed out of the 310 total endogenous metabolites that were detected (156 of the 310 were annotated). Partial least squares-regression models revealed strong covariances between the mucus metabolomes and up-regulated hepatic messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) transcripts reported previously for these same fish. These regression models suggest that mucus metabolomic changes reflected, in part, processes by which the fish biotransformed xenobiotics in the effluent. In keeping with this observation, we detected a phase II transformation product of bisphenol A in the skin mucus of male fish. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the utility of mucus as a minimally invasive matrix for simultaneously assessing exposures and effects of environmentally relevant mixtures of contaminants. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:788-796. Published 2017 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6061956PMC
March 2018

First-generation annotations for the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) genome.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2017 Dec 29;36(12):3436-3442. Epub 2017 Aug 29.

Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota.

Ab initio gene prediction and evidence alignment were used to produce the first annotations for the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) genome. We also describe a genome browser, hosted by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, that provides simplified access to the annotation data in context with the genomic sequence. The present study extends the utility of the fathead minnow genome and supports the continued development of this species as a model organism for predictive toxicology. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:3436-3442. Published 2017 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.3929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733733PMC
December 2017

Rapid effects of the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole on steroid production and gene expression in the ovary of female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).

Gen Comp Endocrinol 2017 Oct 21;252:79-87. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Duluth, MN, USA. Electronic address:

Cytochrome P450 aromatase catalyzes conversion of C19 androgens to C18 estrogens and is critical for normal reproduction in female vertebrates. Fadrozole is a model aromatase inhibitor that has been shown to suppress estrogen production in the ovaries of fish. However, little is known about the early impacts of aromatase inhibition on steroid production and gene expression in fish. Adult female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed via water to 0, 5, or 50µg fadrozole/L for a time-course of 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6h, or 0 or 50µg fadrozole/L for a time-course of 6, 12, and 24h. We examined ex vivo ovarian 17β-estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) production, and plasma E2 concentrations from each study. Expression profiles of genes known or hypothesized to be impacted by fadrozole including aromatase (cytochrome P450 [cyp] 19a1a), steriodogenic acute regulatory protein (star), cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (cyp11a), cytochrome P450 17 alpha hydroxylase/17,20 lyase (cyp17), and follicle stimulating hormone receptor (fshr) were measured in the ovaries by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QPCR). In addition, broader ovarian gene expression was examined using a 15k fathead minnow microarray. The 5µg/L exposure significantly reduced ex vivo E2 production by 6h. In the 50µg/L treatment, ex vivo E2 production was significantly reduced after just 2h of exposure and remained depressed at all time-points examined through 24h. Plasma E2 concentrations were significantly reduced as early as 4h after initiation of exposure to either 5 or 50µg fadrozole/L and remained depressed throughout 24h in the 50µg/L exposure. Ex vivo T concentrations remained unchanged throughout the time-course. Expression of transcripts involved in steroidogenesis increased within the first 24h suggesting rapid induction of a mechanism to compensate for fadrozole inhibition of aromatase. Microarray results also showed fadrozole exposure caused concentration- and time-dependent changes in gene expression profiles in many HPG-axis pathways as early as 4h. This study provides insights into the very rapid effects of aromatase inhibition on steroidogenic processes in fish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.07.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010346PMC
October 2017

An "EAR" on Environmental Surveillance and Monitoring: A Case Study on the Use of Exposure-Activity Ratios (EARs) to Prioritize Sites, Chemicals, and Bioactivities of Concern in Great Lakes Waters.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Aug 18;51(15):8713-8724. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Mid-Continent Ecology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , 6201 Congdon Blvd., Duluth, Minnesota 55804, United States.

Current environmental monitoring approaches focus primarily on chemical occurrence. However, based on concentration alone, it can be difficult to identify which compounds may be of toxicological concern and should be prioritized for further monitoring, in-depth testing, or management. This can be problematic because toxicological characterization is lacking for many emerging contaminants. New sources of high-throughput screening (HTS) data, such as the ToxCast database, which contains information for over 9000 compounds screened through up to 1100 bioassays, are now available. Integrated analysis of chemical occurrence data with HTS data offers new opportunities to prioritize chemicals, sites, or biological effects for further investigation based on concentrations detected in the environment linked to relative potencies in pathway-based bioassays. As a case study, chemical occurrence data from a 2012 study in the Great Lakes Basin along with the ToxCast effects database were used to calculate exposure-activity ratios (EARs) as a prioritization tool. Technical considerations of data processing and use of the ToxCast database are presented and discussed. EAR prioritization identified multiple sites, biological pathways, and chemicals that warrant further investigation. Prioritized bioactivities from the EAR analysis were linked to discrete adverse outcome pathways to identify potential adverse outcomes and biomarkers for use in subsequent monitoring efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b01613DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132252PMC
August 2017

Prioritization of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Wastewater Treatment Plant Discharges Using Chemical:Gene Interactions in Caged Fish.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Aug 17;51(15):8701-8712. Epub 2017 Jul 17.

Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center , 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180, United States.

We examined whether contaminants present in surface waters could be prioritized for further assessment by linking the presence of specific chemicals to gene expression changes in exposed fish. Fathead minnows were deployed in cages for 2, 4, or 8 days at three locations near two different wastewater treatment plant discharge sites in the Saint Louis Bay, Duluth, MN and one upstream reference site. The biological impact of 51 chemicals detected in the surface water of 133 targeted chemicals was determined using biochemical endpoints, exposure activity ratios for biological and estrogenic responses, known chemical:gene interactions from biological pathways and knowledge bases, and analysis of the covariance of ovary gene expression with surface water chemistry. Thirty-two chemicals were significantly linked by covariance with expressed genes. No estrogenic impact on biochemical endpoints was observed in male or female minnows. However, bisphenol A (BPA) was identified by chemical:gene covariation as the most impactful estrogenic chemical across all exposure sites. This was consistent with identification of estrogenic effects on gene expression, high BPA exposure activity ratios across all test sites, and historical analysis of the study area. Gene expression analysis also indicated the presence of nontargeted chemicals including chemotherapeutics consistent with a local hospital waste stream. Overall impacts on gene expression appeared to be related to changes in treatment plant function during rain events. This approach appears useful in examining the impacts of complex mixtures on fish and offers a potential route in linking chemical exposure to adverse outcomes that may reduce population sustainability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b01567DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126926PMC
August 2017

Advancing the adverse outcome pathway framework-An international horizon scanning approach.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2017 06;36(6):1411-1421

Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Canada.

Our ability to conduct whole-organism toxicity tests to understand chemical safety has been outpaced by the synthesis of new chemicals for a wide variety of commercial applications. As a result, scientists and risk assessors are turning to mechanistically based studies to increase efficiencies in chemical risk assessment and making greater use of in vitro and in silico methods to evaluate potential environmental and human health hazards. In this context, the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework has gained traction in regulatory science because it offers an efficient and effective means for capturing available knowledge describing the linkage between mechanistic data and the apical toxicity end points required for regulatory assessments. A number of international activities have focused on AOP development and various applications to regulatory decision-making. These initiatives have prompted dialogue between research scientists and regulatory communities to consider how best to use the AOP framework. Although expert-facilitated discussions and AOP development have been critical in moving the science of AOPs forward, it was recognized that a survey of the broader scientific and regulatory communities would aid in identifying current limitations while guiding future initiatives for the AOP framework. To that end, a global horizon scanning exercise was conducted to solicit questions concerning the challenges or limitations that must be addressed to realize the full potential of the AOP framework in research and regulatory decision-making. The questions received fell into several broad topical areas: AOP networks, quantitative AOPs, collaboration on and communication of AOP knowledge, AOP discovery and development, chemical and cross-species extrapolation, exposure/toxicokinetics considerations, and AOP applications. Expert ranking was then used to prioritize questions for each category, where 4 broad themes emerged that could help inform and guide future AOP research and regulatory initiatives. In addition, frequently asked questions were identified and addressed by experts in the field. Answers to frequently asked questions will aid in addressing common misperceptions and will allow for clarification of AOP topics. The need for this type of clarification was highlighted with surprising frequency by our question submitters, indicating that improvements are needed in communicating the AOP framework among the scientific and regulatory communities. Overall, horizon scanning engaged the global scientific community to help identify key questions surrounding the AOP framework and guide the direction of future initiatives. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:1411-1421. © 2017 SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.3805DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6156781PMC
June 2017

Impaired swim bladder inflation in early life stage fathead minnows exposed to a deiodinase inhibitor, iopanoic acid.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2017 Nov 28;36(11):2942-2952. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Mid-Continent Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Inflation of the posterior and/or anterior swim bladder is a process previously demonstrated to be regulated by thyroid hormones. We investigated whether inhibition of deiodinases, which convert thyroxine (T4) to the more biologically active form, 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), would impact swim bladder inflation. Two experiments were conducted using a model deiodinase inhibitor, iopanoic acid (IOP). First, fathead minnow embryos were exposed to 0.6, 1.9, or 6.0 mg/L or control water until 6 d postfertilization (dpf), at which time posterior swim bladder inflation was assessed. To examine anterior swim bladder inflation, a second study was conducted with 6-dpf larvae exposed to the same IOP concentrations until 21 dpf. Fish from both studies were sampled for T4/T3 measurements and gene transcription analyses. Incidence and length of inflated posterior swim bladders were significantly reduced in the 6.0 mg/L treatment at 6 dpf. Incidence of inflation and length of anterior swim bladder were significantly reduced in all IOP treatments at 14 dpf, but inflation recovered by 18 dpf. Throughout the larval study, whole-body T4 concentrations increased and T3 concentrations decreased in all IOP treatments. Consistent with hypothesized compensatory responses, deiodinase-2 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was up-regulated in the larval study, and thyroperoxidase mRNA was down-regulated in all IOP treatments in both studies. These results support the hypothesized adverse outcome pathways linking inhibition of deiodinase activity to impaired swim bladder inflation. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:2942-2952. Published 2017 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.3855DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733732PMC
November 2017
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