HNF4a transcription is a target of trichloroethylene toxicity in the embryonic mouse heart

Sheri Chen, Alejandro Lencinas, Martha Nunez, Ornella I. Selmin, Raymond B Runyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In exploration of congenital heart defects produced by TCE, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 alpha (HNF4a) transcriptional activity was identified as a central component. TCE exposure altered gene transcription in the chick heart in a non-monotonic pattern where only low dose exposure inhibited transcription by HNF4a. As the chick embryo is non-placental, we examine here HNF4a as a target of TCE in developing mouse embryos. Benfluorex and Bi6015, published agonist and antagonist, respectively, of HNF4a were compared to low dose TCE exposure. Pregnant mice were exposed to 10 ppb (76 nM) TCE, 5 μM Benfluorex, 5 μM Bi6015, or a combination of Bi6015 and TCE in drinking water. Litters (E12) were collected during a sensitive window in heart development. Embryonic hearts were collected, pooled for extraction of RNA and marker expression was examined by quantitative PCR. Multiple markers, previously identified as sensitive to TCE exposure in chicks or as published targets of HNF4a transcription were significantly affected by Benfluorex, Bi6015 and TCE. Activity of TCE and both HNF4a-specific reagents on transcription argues that HNF4a is a component of TCE cardiotoxicity and likely a proximal target of low dose exposure during development. The effectiveness of these reagents after delivery in maternal drinking water suggests that neither maternal metabolism, nor placental transport is protective of exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-832
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science: Processes and Impacts
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'HNF4a transcription is a target of trichloroethylene toxicity in the embryonic mouse heart'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this