Progesterone (P4) has been reported in surface water, and it may have adverse effects on aquatic organisms. This study provided the transcriptional effects of P4 during the early development of zebrafish. Zebrafish embryos were exposed for 144h post fertilization (hpf) to 0, 6, 45 and 90ngL-1 P4, and transcriptional expression profiles of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axes were assessed every day. For the receptor signaling pathways, P4 significantly induced the transcript of Pgr gene above 45ngL-1 at 72 and 144hpf, but inhibited its transcript above 6ngL-1 at 96 and 120hpf. A significant up-regulation of Vtg1 mRNA was observed at 6ngL-1 P4 or higher at 24, 96 and 144hpf. For the steroidogenic pathways, the transcriptional expression of Cyp11a1 and Hsd17b3 mRNAs was mediated by 6ngL-1 P4 or higher according to different exposure time points. In addition, P4 resulted in a significant induction of Cyp19a1a and Cyp11b mRNA expression while it caused a significant inhibition of Hsd11b2 mRNA expression above 6ngL-1. For the other target genes related to hypothalamic and pituitary hormones, P4 mainly modulated the transcripts of Gnrh2, Fshb and Lhb genes at 6ngL-1 or higher. The overall results from the present study indicate that P4 at environmentally relevant concentrations could cause the potential effects on zebrafish reproductive and adrenal endocrine systems by interfering with the HPG and HPA axes.
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis