A Comparative Toxicogenomic Investigation of Oil Sand Water and Processed Water in Rainbow Trout Hepatocytes

  • F. Gagné
  • C. André
  • P. Turcotte
  • C. Gagnon
  • J. Sherry
  • A. Talbot


The purpose of this study was to compare the expression of gene transcripts involved in toxic stress in rainbow trout hepatocytes exposed to oil sand water (OSW), lixiviate (OSLW), and processed water (OSPW). We pose the hypothesis that the changes in gene expression responses in cells exposed to a simulated oil sand extraction procedure (OSPW) differ from the gene expression responses of OSLW and OS. Rainbow trout hepatocytes were exposed to increasing concentrations of OSW, OSLW, and OSPW for 48 h at 15 °C. Cell viability was assessed by measuring membrane permeability, total RNA levels, and gene expression using an array of 16 genes involved in xenobiotic biotransformation (GST, CYP1A1, CYP3A4, MDR), metal homeostasis and oxidative stress (MT, SOD, and CAT), estrogenicity (VTG, ERβ), DNA repair (LIG, APEX, UNG, and OGG), cell growth (GADD45 and PCNA), and glycolysis (GAPDH). The results showed that the toxicogenomic properties of OSPW differed from those of OSLW and OSW. Gene transcripts that were influenced by OSW and OSLW, and strongly expressed in OSPW, were MT, CAT, GST (induction), CYP1A1, VTG, UNG/OGG, and PCNA. These genes are therefore considered not entirely specific to OSPW but to water in contact with OS. We also found gene transcripts that responded only with OSPW: SOD, GST (inhibition), MDR (inhibition), CYP3A4, GAPDH, GADD45, and APEX. Of these gene transcripts, the ones strongly associated with toxicity (loss of cell viability and RNA levels) were CYP3A4, GST, and GAPDH. Genes involved in DNA repair were also strongly related to the loss of cell viability but responded to both OSLW and OSPW. The observed changes in cell toxicity and gene expression therefore support the hypothesis that OSPW has a distinct toxic fingerprint from OSLW and OSW.


PAHs Bitumen Total Suspended Solid Tailing Pond Naphthenic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The project was funded by Environment Canada’s Genomics Strategy and the Research and Monitoring on Oil Sands programs. The manuscript was edited by Keltie Purcell of Environment Canada’s Translation Brokering and Editing Services.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Gagné
    • 1
  • C. André
    • 2
  • P. Turcotte
    • 2
  • C. Gagnon
    • 2
  • J. Sherry
    • 1
  • A. Talbot
    • 1
  1. 1.Emerging Methods, Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Water Science and TechnologyEnvironment CanadaMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Wastewaters and Effluents, Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Water Science and TechnologyEnvironment CanadaMontrealCanada

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