The phenotypic and transcriptomic effects of developmental exposure to nanomolar levels of estrone and bisphenol A in zebrafish

Chia Chen Wu, Jeremiah N. Shields, Camille Akemann, Danielle N. Meyer, Mackenzie Connell, Bridget B. Baker, David K. Pitts, Tracie R. Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Estrone and BPA are two endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that are predicted to be less potent than estrogens such as 17β-estradiol and 17α-ethinylestradiol. Human exposure concentrations to estrone and BPA can be as low as nanomolar levels. However, very few toxicological studies have focused on the nanomolar-dose effects. Low level of EDCs can potentially cause non-monotonic responses. In addition, exposures at different developmental stages can lead to different health outcomes. To identify the nanomolar-dose effects of estrone and BPA, we used zebrafish modeling to study the phenotypic and transcriptomic responses after extended duration exposure from 0 to 5 days post-fertilization (dpf) and short-term exposure at days 4–5 post fertilization. We found that non-monotonic transcriptomic responses occurred after extended duration exposures at 1 nM of estrone or BPA. At this level, estrone also caused hypoactivity locomotive behavior in zebrafish. After both extended duration and short-term exposures, BPA led to more apparent phenotypic responses, i.e. skeletal abnormalities and locomotion changes, and more significant transcriptomic responses than estrone exposure. After short-term exposure, BPA at concentrations equal or above 100 nM affected locomotive behavior and changed the expression of both estrogenic and non-estrogenic genes that are linked to neurological diseases. These data provide gaps of mechanisms between neurological genes expression and associated phenotypic response due to estrone or BPA exposures. This study also provides insights for assessing the acceptable concentration of BPA and estrone in aquatic environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143736
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2021


  • BPA
  • Estrone
  • Low-dose effects
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Non-monotonic response
  • Zebrafish


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