Project description:The zebrafish embryo has repeatedly proved to be a useful model for the analysis of effects by environmental toxicants. This study was performed to investigate if an approach combining mechanism-specific bioassays with microarray techniques can obtain more in-depth insights into the ecotoxicity of complex pollutant mixtures as present, e.g., in freeze-dried whole sediment samples and their corresponding organic extracts in parallel. To this end, altered gene expression was compared to data from established bioassays as well as to results from chemical analysis. Microarray analysis revealed several classes of significantly regulated genes which could to a considerable extent be related to the hazard potential. Results indicate that potential classes of contaminants can be assigned to sediment extracts by both classical biomarker genes and corresponding expression profile analyses of known substances. However, it is difficult to distinguish between specific responses and more universal detoxification of the organism. Additionally, different gene expression was shown to be less influenced by the sampling site than by the method of exposure, which could be attributed to differential bioavailability of contaminants. Microarray analyses were performed with early life stages of zebrafish exposed to sediment extracts or freeze-dried sediment from three sampling sites (Ehingen, Lauchert, Sigmaringen) along the Upper part of the Danube River, Germany. The expression profiles were compared within the sampling sites, between the exposure scheme and to the expression pattern of model toxicants, such as 4-chloroaniline, Cadmium, DDT, TCDD, and Valproic acid (Gene Expression Omnibus Series GSE9357). Additionally, mechanism-specific bioassays and chemical analysis of the sediments have been combined and compared to the present gene expression data.