Retene, pyrene and phenanthrene cause distinct molecular-level changes in the cardiac tissue of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) larvae, part 2 – Proteomics and metabolomics

Cyril Rigaud, Andreas Eriksson, Anne Rokka, Morten Skaugen, Jenna Lihavainen, Markku Keinänen, Heli Lehtivuori, Eeva Riikka Vehniäinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are global contaminants of concern. Despite several decades of research, their mechanisms of toxicity are not very well understood. Early life stages of fish are particularly sensitive with the developing cardiac tissue being a main target of PAHs toxicity. The mechanisms of cardiotoxicity of the three widespread model polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) retene, pyrene and phenanthrene were explored in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) early life stages. Newly hatched larvae were exposed to sublethal doses of each individual PAH causing no detectable morphometric alterations. Changes in the cardiac proteome and metabolome were assessed after 7 or 14 days of exposure to each PAH. Phase I and II enzymes regulated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor were significantly induced by all PAHs, with retene being the most potent compound. Retene significantly altered the level of several proteins involved in key cardiac functions such as muscle contraction, cellular tight junctions or calcium homeostasis. Those findings were quite consistent with previous reports regarding the effects of retene on the cardiac transcriptome. Significant changes in proteins linked to iron and heme metabolism were observed following exposure to pyrene. While phenanthrene also altered the levels of several proteins in the cardiac tissue, no clear mechanisms or pathways could be highlighted. Due to high variability between samples, very few significant changes were detected in the cardiac metabolome overall. Slight but significant changes were still observed for pyrene and phenanthrene, suggesting possible effects on several energetic or signaling pathways. This study shows that early exposure to different PAHs can alter the expression of key proteins involved in the cardiac function, which could potentially affect negatively the fitness of the larvae and later of the juvenile fish.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141161
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Aquatic toxicology
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Developmental toxicity
  • Metabolomics
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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