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Relationship: 2038

Title

A descriptive phrase which clearly defines the two KEs being considered and the sequential relationship between them (i.e., which is upstream, and which is downstream). More help

T4 in serum, Decreased leads to Decreased, Triiodothyronine (T3)

Upstream event
The causing Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help
Downstream event
The responding Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help

Key Event Relationship Overview

The utility of AOPs for regulatory application is defined, to a large extent, by the confidence and precision with which they facilitate extrapolation of data measured at low levels of biological organisation to predicted outcomes at higher levels of organisation and the extent to which they can link biological effect measurements to their specific causes. Within the AOP framework, the predictive relationships that facilitate extrapolation are represented by the KERs. Consequently, the overall WoE for an AOP is a reflection in part, of the level of confidence in the underlying series of KERs it encompasses. Therefore, describing the KERs in an AOP involves assembling and organising the types of information and evidence that defines the scientific basis for inferring the probable change in, or state of, a downstream KE from the known or measured state of an upstream KE. More help

AOPs Referencing Relationship

AOP Name Adjacency Weight of Evidence Quantitative Understanding Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Thyroperoxidase inhibition leading to increased mortality via reduced anterior swim bladder inflation adjacent Moderate Moderate Dries Knapen (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome EAGMST Approved
Thyroperoxidase inhibition leading to altered visual function via altered retinal layer structure adjacent Moderate Moderate Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Open for citation & comment EAGMST Under Review
Thyroperoxidase inhibition leading to altered visual function via decreased eye size adjacent Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development
Thyroperoxidase inhibition leading to altered visual function via altered photoreceptor patterning adjacent Lucia Vergauwen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KER.In general, this will be dictated by the more restrictive of the two KEs being linked together by the KER.  More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
zebrafish Danio rerio High NCBI
fathead minnow Pimephales promelas Moderate NCBI

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KER. More help
Sex Evidence
Unspecific Moderate

Life Stage Applicability

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KER.  More help
Term Evidence
Juvenile Moderate
Larvae Moderate

Key Event Relationship Description

Provides a concise overview of the information given below as well as addressing details that aren’t inherent in the description of the KEs themselves. More help

When serum thyroxine (T4) levels are decreased, less T4 is available for conversion to the more biologically active triiodothyronine (T3). While some thyroid hormone (TH) disrupting mechanisms can immediately affect T3 levels, including deiodinase inhibition, other mechanisms reduce T4 levels, for example through inhibition of TH synthesis, leading to decreased T3 levels.

Since in fish early life stages TH are typically measured on a whole body level, it is currently uncertain whether TH levels changes occur at the serum and/or tissue level. Pending more dedicated studies, whole body TH levels are often considered a proxy for serum TH levels.

This key event relationship is not always evident. This could be due to feedback/compensatory mechanisms that in some cases seem to be able to maintain T3 levels even though T4 levels are reduced, for example through increased conversion of T4 to T3 by deiodinases.

Evidence Collection Strategy

Include a description of the approach for identification and assembly of the evidence base for the KER.  For evidence identification, include, for example, a description of the sources and dates of information consulted including expert knowledge, databases searched and associated search terms/strings.  Include also a description of study screening criteria and methodology, study quality assessment considerations, the data extraction strategy and links to any repositories/databases of relevant references.Tabular summaries and links to relevant supporting documentation are encouraged, wherever possible. More help

Evidence Supporting this KER

Addresses the scientific evidence supporting KERs in an AOP setting the stage for overall assessment of the AOP. More help
Biological Plausibility
Addresses the biological rationale for a connection between KEupstream and KEdownstream.  This field can also incorporate additional mechanistic details that help inform the relationship between KEs, this is useful when it is not practical/pragmatic to represent these details as separate KEs due to the difficulty or relative infrequency with which it is likely to be measured.   More help

When serum thyroxine (T4) levels are decreased, less T4 is available for conversion to the more biologically active triiodothyronine (T3). It is plausible to assume that while some thyroid hormone (TH) disrupting mechanisms can immediately affect T3 levels, including deiodinase inhibition, other mechanisms reduce T4 levels, for example through inhibition of TH synthesis, leading to decreased T3 levels.

Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
Addresses inconsistencies or uncertainties in the relationship including the identification of experimental details that may explain apparent deviations from the expected patterns of concordance. More help
  • Since in fish early life stages THs are typically measured on a whole body level, it is currently uncertain whether TH level changes occur at the serum and/or tissue level. Pending more dedicated studies, whole body TH levels are considered a proxy for serum TH levels.
  • This key event relationship is not always evident. This could be due to feedback/compensatory mechanisms that in some cases seem to be able to maintain T3 levels even though T4 levels are reduced, for example through increased conversion of T4 to T3 by deiodinases. Examples of studies showing reduced T4 levels in the absence of reduced T3 levels:
    • Zebrafish exposed to 0.35 mg/L 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, a TPO inhibitor, through 32 dpf showed decreased whole-body T4, but T3 levels showed particularly large variation and overall were not significantly decreased (Stinckens et al., 2016).
    • Although T4 content of 28 dpf larval fathead minnows exposed to 32 or 100 µg/l methimazole, a TPO inhibitor, was reduced, these fish showed no change in whole body T3 content (Crane et al., 2006). Significantly higher T3/T4 ratios in fish held in 100 µg/l methimazole suggest an increased conversion of T4 to T3 or reduced degradation and conjugation during continued exposure to methimazole

Known modulating factors

This table captures specific information on the MF, its properties, how it affects the KER and respective references.1.) What is the modulating factor? Name the factor for which solid evidence exists that it influences this KER. Examples: age, sex, genotype, diet 2.) Details of this modulating factor. Specify which features of this MF are relevant for this KER. Examples: a specific age range or a specific biological age (defined by...); a specific gene mutation or variant, a specific nutrient (deficit or surplus); a sex-specific homone; a certain threshold value (e.g. serum levels of a chemical above...) 3.) Description of how this modulating factor affects this KER. Describe the provable modification of the KER (also quantitatively, if known). Examples: increase or decrease of the magnitude of effect (by a factor of...); change of the time-course of the effect (onset delay by...); alteration of the probability of the effect; increase or decrease of the sensitivity of the downstream effect (by a factor of...) 4.) Provision of supporting scientific evidence for an effect of this MF on this KER. Give a list of references.  More help
Response-response Relationship
Provides sources of data that define the response-response relationships between the KEs.  More help
Time-scale
Information regarding the approximate time-scale of the changes in KEdownstream relative to changes in KEupstream (i.e., do effects on KEdownstream lag those on KEupstream by seconds, minutes, hours, or days?). More help
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
Define whether there are known positive or negative feedback mechanisms involved and what is understood about their time-course and homeostatic limits. More help

This key event relationship is not always evident. This could be due to feedback/compensatory mechanisms that in some cases seem to be able to maintain T3 levels even though T4 levels are reduced, for example through increased conversion of T4 to T3 by deiodinases. Examples of studies showing reduced T4 levels in the absence of reduced T3 levels:

  • Zebrafish exposed to 0.35 mg/L 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, a TPO inhibitor, through 32 dpf showed decreased whole-body T4, but T3 levels showed particularly large variation and overall were not significantly decreased (Stinckens et al., 2016).
  • Although T4 content of 28 dpf larval fathead minnows exposed to 32 or 100 µg/l methimazole, a TPO inhibitor, was reduced, these fish showed no change in whole body T3 content (Crane et al., 2006). Significantly higher T3/T4 ratios in fish held in 100 µg/l methimazole suggest an increased conversion of T4 to T3 or reduced degradation and conjugation during continued exposure to methimazole

This relationship depends on the MIE that is causing the decrease in T3. For example, deiodinase inhibition results in reduced activation of T4 to T3 and thus in reduced T3 levels; increased T4 levels have been observed, probably as a compensatory mechanism in response to the lower T3 levels. For example, Cavallin et al. (2017) exposed fathead minnows to iopanoic acid, a deiodinase inhibitor, and observed T4 increases together with T3 decreases.

Domain of Applicability

A free-text section of the KER description that the developers can use to explain their rationale for the taxonomic, life stage, or sex applicability structured terms. More help

Taxonomic: Thyroid follicles mainly produce T4 and to a lesser extent T3 across vertebrates. When serum T4 levels are decreased, less T4 is available for conversion to the more biologically active T3. This key event relationship is not always evident. This could be due to feedback/compensatory mechanisms that in some cases seem to be able to maintain T3 levels even though T4 levels are reduced, for example through increased conversion of T4 to T3 by deiodinases. These feedback mechanisms can also differ across species. Therefore, although this KER is plausibly applicable across vertebrates, variation can be expected. In zebrafish and fathead minnow, several studies reported evidence for a relationship between whole body T4 and T3 levels (Nelson et al., 2016; Stinckens et al., 2020, Wang et al., 2020).

Life stage: This key event relationship is applicable to late larvae and juveniles rather than to embryos, because of the presence of maternal TH in embryos.

Uncertainties during embryonic life stage:

  • A decrease in whole body T4 was observed in fathead minnows exposed to 1 mg/L 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), a TPO inhibitor, until 6 dpf (Nelson et al., 2016). In contrast, there was no observed effect on T3 in fathead minnows exposed to MBT until 6 dpf. Comparably, zebrafish exposed to 0.4 or 0.7 mg/L MBT thruntilough 120 hpf showed decreased whole body T4 but not T3 (Stinckens et al., 2016). During this early larval life stage, T3 may have been derived from maternal T4. In addition, it could be produced from further depletion of any T4 still produced by the thyroid gland (as TPO may not have been fully inhibited at the tested exposure concentrations).
  • Since exposure to PFAS did result in decreased whole-body T4 and T3 in 5 day old zebrafish, the life-stage specificity possibly depends on the mechanism that lies at the basis of the TH changes (Wang et al., 2020). The exact mechanisms by which PFAS disrupt the TH system remain uncertain. Compounds that directly reduce T3 levels (e.g., deiodinase inhibitors) in addition to reducing T4 levels via another mechanism can be expected to result in decreased T4 and T3 levels.

Sex: The KE is plausibly applicable to both sexes. Thyroid hormones are essential in both sexes and the components of the HPT-axis are identical in both sexes. There can however be sex-dependent differences in the sensitivity to the disruption of thyroid hormone levels and the magnitude of the response. In humans, females appear more susceptible to hypothyroidism compared to males when exposed to certain halogenated chemicals (Hernandez‐Mariano et al., 2017; Webster et al., 2014). In adult zebrafish, Liu et al. (2019) showed sex-dependent changes in thyroid hormone levels and mRNA expression of regulatory genes including corticotropin releasing hormone (crh), thyroid stimulating hormone (tsh) and deiodinase 2 after exposure to organophosphate flame retardants. The underlying mechanism of any sex-related differences remains unclear.

References

List of the literature that was cited for this KER description. More help

Besson, M., Feeney, W. E., Moniz, I., François, L., Brooker, R. M., Holzer, G., Metian, M., Roux, N., Laudet, V., & Lecchini, D. (2020). Anthropogenic stressors impact fish sensory development and survival via thyroid disruption. Nature Communications, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17450-8

Cavallin, J.E., Ankley, G.T., Blackwell, B.R., Blanksma, C.A., Fay, K.A., Jensen, K.M., Kahl, M.D., Knapen, D., Kosian, P.A., Poole, S.T., Randolph, E.C., Schroeder, A.L., Vergauwen, L., Villeneuve, D.L., 2017. Impaired swim bladder inflation in early life stage fathead minnows exposed to a deiodinase inhibitor, iopanoic acid. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 36, 2942-2952.

Crane, H.M., Pickford, D.B., Hutchinson, T.H., Brown, J.A., 2006. The effects of methimazole on development of the fathead minnow, pimephales promelas, from embryo to adult. Toxicological Sciences 93, 278-285.

Hernandez-Mariano JA, Torres-Sanchez L, Bassol-Mayagoitia S, Escamilla-Nunez M, Cebrian ME, Villeda-Gutierrez EA, Lopez-Rodriguez G, Felix-Arellano EE, Blanco-Munoz J. 2017. Effect of exposure to p,p '-dde during the first half of pregnancy in the maternal thyroid profile of female residents in a mexican floriculture area. Environmental Research. 156:597-604.

Liu XS, Cai Y, Wang Y, Xu SH, Ji K, Choi K. 2019. Effects of tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (tdcpp) and triphenyl phosphate (tpp) on sex-dependent alterations of thyroid hormones in adult zebrafish. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 170:25-32.

Nelson, K., Schroeder, A., Ankley, G., Blackwell, B., Blanksma, C., Degitz, S., Flynn, K., Jensen, K., Johnson, R., Kahl, M., Knapen, D., Kosian, P., Milsk, R., Randolph, E., Saari, T., Stinckens, E., Vergauwen, L., Villeneuve, D., 2016. Impaired anterior swim bladder inflation following exposure to the thyroid peroxidase inhibitor 2-mercaptobenzothiazole part I: Fathead minnow. Aquatic Toxicology 173, 192-203.

Stinckens, E., Vergauwen, L., Blackwell, B.R., Anldey, G.T., Villeneuve, D.L., Knapen, D., 2020. Effect of Thyroperoxidase and Deiodinase Inhibition on Anterior Swim Bladder Inflation in the Zebrafish. Environmental Science & Technology 54, 6213-6223.

Stinckens, E., Vergauwen, L., Schroeder, A., Maho, W., Blackwell, B., Witters, H., Blust, R., Ankley, G., Covaci, A., Villeneuve, D., Knapen, D., 2016. Impaired anterior swim bladder inflation following exposure to the thyroid peroxidase inhibitor 2-mercaptobenzothiazole part II: Zebrafish. Aquatic Toxicology 173, 204-217.

Wang, J.X., Shi, G.H., Yao, J.Z., Sheng, N., Cui, R.N., Su, Z.B., Guo, Y., Dai, J.Y., 2020. Perfluoropolyether carboxylic acids (novel alternatives to PFOA) impair zebrafish posterior swim bladder development via thyroid hormone disruption. Environment International 134.

Webster GM, Venners SA, Mattman A, Martin JW. 2014. Associations between perfluoroalkyl acids (pfass) and maternal thyroid hormones in early pregnancy: A population-based cohort study. Environmental Research. 133:338-347.