Excess Imidacloprid Exposure Causes the Heart Tube Malformation of Chick Embryos

Lin-rui Gao, Shuai Li, Jing Zhang, Chang Liang, En-ni Chen, Shi-yao Zhang, Manli Chuai, Yong-ping Bao, Guang Wang (Lead / Corresponding author), Xuesong Yang (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    As a neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid is widely used to control sucking insects on agricultural planting and fleas on domestic animals. However, the extent to which imidacloprid exposure has an influence on cardiogensis in early embryogenesis is still poorly understood. In vertebrates, the heart is the first organ to be formed. In this study, to address whether imidacloprid exposure affects early heart development, the early chick embryo has been used as an experimental model because of its accessibility at its early developmental stage. The results demonstrate that exposure of the early chick embryo to imidacloprid caused malformation of heart tube. Furthermore, the data reveal that down-regulation of GATA4, NKX2.5, and BMP4 and up-regulation of Wnt3a led to aberrant cardiomyocyte differentiation. In addition, imidacloprid exposure interfered with basement membrane breakdown, E-cadherin/laminin expression, and mesoderm formation during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in gastrula chick embryos. Finally, the DiI-labeled cell migration trajectory indicated that imidacloprid restricted the cell migration of cardiac progenitors to primary heart field in gastrula chick embryos. A similar observation was also obtained from the cell migration assay of scratch wounds in vitro. Additionally, imidacloprid exposure negatively affected the cytoskeleton structure and expression of corresponding adhesion molecules. Taken together, these results reveal that the improper EMT, cardiac progenitor migration, and differentiation are responsible for imidacloprid exposure-induced malformation of heart tube during chick embryo development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9078-9088
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Issue number47
    Early online date28 Oct 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2016


    • Animals
    • Bone morphogenetic protein 4
    • Cadherins
    • Cell differentiation
    • Cell movement
    • Chick embryo
    • Down-regulation
    • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
    • GATA4 transcription factor
    • Gene expression regulation, Developmental
    • Heart
    • Heart valve diseases
    • Homeobox protein Nkx-2.5
    • Imidazoles
    • Insecticides
    • Laminin
    • Myocytes, Cardiac
    • Nitro compounds
    • Rats
    • Up-regulation
    • Wnt3A protein
    • Journal article


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