Gonadal transcriptome analysis of wild contaminated female European eels during artificial gonad maturation


Since the early 1980s, the population of European eels (Anguilla anguilla) has dramatically declined. Nowadays, the European eel is listed on the red list of threatened species (IUCN Red List) and is considered as critically endangered of extinction. Pollution is one of the putative causes for the collapse of this species. Among their possible effects, contaminants gradually accumulated in eels during their somatic growth phase (yellow eel stage) would be remobilized during their reproductive migration leading to potential toxic events in gonads. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of organic and inorganic contaminants on the gonad development of wild female silver eels. Female silver eels from two sites with differing contamination levels were artificially matured. Transcriptomic analyses by means of a 1000 candidate gene cDNA microarray were performed on gonads after 11weeks of maturation to get insight into the mechanisms of toxicity of contaminants. The transcription levels of several genes, that were associated to the gonadosomatic index (GSI), were involved in mitotic cell division but also in gametogenesis. Genes associated to contaminants were mainly involved in the mechanisms of protection against oxidative stress, in DNA repair, in the purinergic signaling pathway and in steroidogenesis, suggesting an impairment of gonad development in eels from the polluted site. This was in agreement with the fact that eels from the reference site showed a higher gonad growth in comparison to contaminated fish.


 Lucie Baillon1, Jennifer Oses1, Fabien Pierron2, Sarah Bureau du Colombier3, Antoine Caron4, Eric Normandeau5, Patrick Lambert3, Patrice Couture4, Pierre Labadie1, Hélène Budzinski1, Sylvie Dufour S5, Louis Bernatchez6, Magalie Baudrimont1.

  • 1. Univ. Bordeaux, UMR EPOC CNRS 5805, F-33400 Talence, France; CNRS, EPOC, UMR 5805, F-33400 Talence, France.
  • 2. Univ. Bordeaux, UMR EPOC CNRS 5805, F-33400 Talence, France; CNRS, EPOC, UMR 5805, F-33400 Talence, France. Electronic address:
  • 3. Irtsea, UR EABX, 50 avenue de Verdun-Gazinet, 33612 Cestas, France.
  • 4. Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre Eau Terre Environnement, 490 de la Couronne, Québec, Québec G1K 9A9, Canada.
  • 5. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR BOREA UPMC, CNRS 7208, IRD 207, UCBN, 7 rue Cuvier CP 32, F-75231 Paris, France.
  • 6. Département de biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes (IBIS), Université Laval, Québec, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada.


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