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The effects of environmental pollutants to zebrafish embryo development and organoids: a transgenerational approach


The environmental pollution is one of the greatest dilemmas of the humanity, specially in urban areas. An improper basic sanitation and water treatment lead to daily discharge of effluents from industry and residences into the water resources. Those effluents contain toxic compounds as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and metals. The PAHs are mainly derived from the combustion of oil and solvent mixtures, as some of them have carcinogenic potential. They are considered ubiquitarian pollutants that may be launched in the air and brought to the water sources by the rain, or lack of water treatment. The heavy metals are hardly degraded, stay in the environment, can cause endocrine and neurological disturbances. Both PAHs and metals can be found in untreated sewage. In general, the prolonged exposure of organisms to toxic agents do not directly provoke death, but affects the structure and function of organs, compromising the individual, the population and probably the species. In the last years, national and international cooperation transformed the project into a more complex study that may help to understand the effects of pollutants in a transgenerational level, focusing on the endocrine and reproductive systems. The international cooperation with Prof Daniela Pampanin and Prof Kåre B Jørgensen from Stavanger University (Norway) allowed more specific studies with alkylated PAHs that are not commercially available but are found in environmental samples. Moreover, the collaboration with Prof Rafael Nóbrega´s group, from UNESP-Botucatu, (Botucatu, São Paulo), that has experience with spermatogenesis, production of testis organoids, endocrine and paracrine regulation of teleost fish will make possible to understand the effects of PAHs and metals in a transgenerational way. Altogether the aim of this project is to analyze the developmental, endocrine and reproductive (gonadal induction) alterations in, Danio rerio, zebrafish embryo-larvae, but also adults (through explants or organoids studies) caused by environmental pollutants and how this is passed to the next generation. The analyses using zebrafish as a model will help to understand the possible damage caused to the fish in the endocrine and reproductive level and trace a parallel of the toxic effect of the pollutants to the health o vertebrates, as fish and humans. (AU)

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