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 Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>