Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Green-glowing fish provides new insights into health impacts of pollution

18.04.2012
Understanding the damage that pollution causes to both wildlife and human health is set to become much easier thanks to a new green-glowing zebrafish.

Created by a team from the University of Exeter, the fish makes it easier than ever before to see where in the body environmental chemicals act and how they affect health.


Understanding the damage that pollution causes to both wildlife and human health is set to become much easier thanks to a new green-glowing zebrafish. Created by a team from the University of Exeter, the fish makes it easier than ever before to see where in the body environmental chemicals act and how they affect health. Credit: University of Exeter

The fluorescent fish has shown that oestrogenic chemicals, which are already linked to reproductive problems, impact on more parts of the body than previously thought.

The research by the University of Exeter and UCL (University College London) is published today (18 April 2012) in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Numerous studies have linked 'endocrine-disrupting' chemicals, used in a wide range of industrial products and contraceptive pharmaceuticals, to reproductive problems in wildlife and humans. Previous University of Exeter research identified the potential for a major group of 'these chemicals to cause male fish to change gender. Human exposure to these chemicals, which can alter hormone signalling in the body, has been associated with decreases in sperm count and other health problems, including breast and testicular cancer.

Scientists worldwide are now working to find better ways of screening and testing for these chemicals in the body, to target the health risks to humans and wildlife. This new development, led by Dr Tetsuhiro Kudoh and Professor Charles Tyler at the University of Exeter, gives the first comprehensive insight into the effects of these chemicals on the whole body. It shows that more organs and parts of the body react to environmental estrogens than previously thought.

The team created a new transgenic zebrafish, which when exposed to environmental oestrogens shows where these chemicals work in the body through the production of green fluorescent signals. The research team tested the fish's sensitivity to different chemicals known to affect oestrogen hormone signalling, including ethinyloestradiol, used in the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy treatments, nonylphenol, used in paints and industrial detergents, and Bisphenol A, which is found in many plastics.

Eventually, they produced a fish that was sufficiently sensitive to the chemicals to give fluorescent green signals to show which parts of its body were responding. This was done by placing a genetic system into the fish that amplifies the response to oestrogens producing the fluorescent green signal.

In the laboratory, PhD student Okhyun Lee exposed the fish to chemicals at levels found in wastewaters that are discharged into our rivers. She was then able to observe the effects of the exposure on the fish, in real time, watching specific organs or areas of tissue glow green, in response to the chemicals.

The team identified responses in parts of the body already associated with these chemicals: for example, the liver and, in the case of Bisphenol A, the heart. They also witnessed responses in tissues that were not previously known to be targeted by these chemicals, including the skeletal muscle and eyes.

Corresponding author Professor Charles Tyler of the University of Exeter said: "This is a very exciting development in the international effort to understand the impact of oestrogenic chemicals on the environment and human health. This zebrafish gives us a more comprehensive view than ever before of the potential effects of these hormone-disrupting chemicals on the body.

"By being able to localise precisely where different environmental oestrogens act in the body, we will be able to more effectively target health effects analyses for these chemicals of concern. While it is still early days, we are confident that our zebrafish model can help us better understand the way the human body responds to these pollutants."

Sarah Hoyle | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>