, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 71–84 | Cite as

Transcriptome profile analysis reveals specific signatures of pollutants in Atlantic eels

  • Lucie Baillon
  • Fabien PierronEmail author
  • Raphaël Coudret
  • Eric Normendeau
  • Antoine Caron
  • Laurent Peluhet
  • Pierre Labadie
  • Hélène Budzinski
  • Gilles Durrieu
  • Jérôme Sarraco
  • Pierre Elie
  • Patrice Couture
  • Magalie Baudrimont
  • Louis Bernatchez


Identifying specific effects of contaminants in a multi-stress field context remain a challenge in ecotoxicology. In this context, “omics” technologies, by allowing the simultaneous measurement of numerous biological endpoints, could help unravel the in situ toxicity of contaminants. In this study, wild Atlantic eels were sampled in 8 sites presenting a broad contamination gradient in France and Canada. The global hepatic transcriptome of animals was determined by RNA-Seq. In parallel, the contamination level of fish to 8 metals and 25 organic pollutants was determined. Factor analysis for multiple testing was used to identify genes that are most likely to be related to a single factor. Among the variables analyzed, arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lindane (γ-HCH) and the hepato-somatic index (HSI) were found to be the main factors affecting eel’s transcriptome. Genes associated with As exposure were involved in the mechanisms that have been described during As vasculotoxicity in mammals. Genes correlated with Cd were involved in cell cycle and energy metabolism. For γ-HCH, genes were involved in lipolysis and cell growth. Genes associated with HSI were involved in protein, lipid and iron metabolisms. Our study proposes specific gene signatures of pollutants and their impacts in fish exposed to multi-stress conditions.


Transcriptome Multi-pollutant Wild fish populations Atlantic eels 



We wish to acknowledge the contributions of our support staff, without whom this study could not have been completed. First, we would like to thank all the personnel of INRS-ETE and UMR EPOC (University of Bordeaux) who participated in the field sampling, and also Patrick Girard and Pierre Elie for veterinary expertise. We would thank Charline Gesset for technical assistance. This work was supported by the ANR-CRSNG IMMORTEEL (ANR-10-INTB-1704) and by Aquitaine region (GAGILAU and MICANG projects). Lucie Baillon was supported by a collaborative doctoral fellowship between the University of Bordeaux (France) and the University of Laval (Quebec, Canada).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10646_2014_1356_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 1625 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucie Baillon
    • 1
  • Fabien Pierron
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raphaël Coudret
    • 2
  • Eric Normendeau
    • 3
  • Antoine Caron
    • 4
  • Laurent Peluhet
    • 1
  • Pierre Labadie
    • 1
  • Hélène Budzinski
    • 1
  • Gilles Durrieu
    • 5
  • Jérôme Sarraco
    • 2
  • Pierre Elie
    • 6
  • Patrice Couture
    • 4
  • Magalie Baudrimont
    • 1
  • Louis Bernatchez
    • 3
  1. 1.Univ. Bordeaux, UMR EPOC CNRS 5805TalenceFrance
  2. 2.CQFD teamINRIA Bordeaux Sud-OuestTalenceFrance
  3. 3.Département de biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes (IBIS)Université LavalQuebecCanada
  4. 4.Centre Eau Terre EnvironnementInstitut National de la Recherche ScientifiqueQuebecCanada
  5. 5.Université de Bretagne SudLMBA, UMR CNRS 6205VannesFrance
  6. 6.IRSTEACestasFrance

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