Developmental exposure of turtles and other reptiles to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including bisphenol A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE), can stimulate partial to full gonadal sex-reversal in males. We have also recently shown that in ovo exposure to either EDC can induce similar sex-dependent behavioral changes typified by improved spatial learning and memory or possibly feminized brain responses. Observed behavioral changes are presumed to be due to BPA- and EE-induced brain transcriptomic alterations during development. To test this hypothesis, at developmental stage 17, painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) incubated at 26°C (male-inducing temperature) were treated with 1) BPA (1 ng/µL), 2) EE (4 ng/µL), or 3) vehicle ethanol control group. Ten months after hatching and completion of the behavioral tests, juvenile turtles were euthanized, brains collected and frozen in liquid nitrogen, and RNA isolated for RNAseq analysis. Turtles exposed to BPA clustered separately from EE-exposed and control individuals. More transcripts and gene pathways were altered in BPA vs. EE individuals. The one transcript upregulated in both BPA- and EE-exposed individuals was the mitochondrial-associated gene, ND5, which is involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Early exposure of turtles to BPA increases transcripts linked with ribosomal and mitochondrial functions, especially bioenergetics, which has been previously linked with improved cognitive performance. In summary, even though both BPA and EE resulted in similar behavioral alterations, they diverge in the pattern of neural transcript alterations with early BPA significantly upregulating several genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial activity, and ribosomal function, which could enhance cognitive performance.
- Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- Integrative Correlation Analyses
- Copyright © 2016, Physiological Genomics