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Immunotoxicity of β-Diketone Antibiotic Mixtures to Zebrafish (Danio rerio) by Transcriptome Analysis.


Fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines are known as β-diketone antibiotics (DKAs) because of bearing a diketone group in their molecular structure. DKAs are the most widely used antibiotics to prevent generation of disease in humans and animals and to suppress bacterial growth in aquaculture. In recent years, overuse of DKAs has caused serious environmental risk due to their pseudo-persistence in the environment, even though their half-lives are not long. So far, no reports were concerned with the joint immunotoxicity of DKAs. Herein, we reported on the immunotoxicity of DKAs on zebrafish after a 3-month DKAs exposure using transcriptomic techniques. According to transcriptome sequencing, 10 differentially expressed genes were screened out among the genes related to KEGG pathways with high enrichment. The identified 7 genes showed to be consistent between RNA-seq and qRT-PCR. Due to DKAs exposure, the content or activity for a series of immune-related biomarkers (Complement 3, lysozyme, IgM and AKP) showed the inconsistent changing trends as compared with the control group. Histopathological observations showed that the number of goblet cells increased sharply, the columnar epithelial cells swelled, the nucleus became slender in intestinal villi, and numerous brown metachromatic granules occurred in spleens of DKAs-exposed groups. Overall, both detection of biomarkers and histopathological observation corroborated that chronic DKAs exposure could result in abnormal expression of immune genes and enzymes, and variable levels of damage to immune-related organs. These complex effects of DKAs may lead to zebrafish dysfunction and occurrence of diseases related to the immune system.

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