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Benchmarking Water Quality from Wastewater to Drinking Waters Using Reduced Transcriptome of Human Cells

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posted on 11.07.2017, 00:00 by Pu Xia, Xiaowei Zhang, Hanxin Zhang, Pingping Wang, Mingming Tian, Hongxia Yu
One of the major challenges in environmental science is monitoring and assessing the risk of complex environmental mixtures. In vitro bioassays with limited key toxicological end points have been shown to be suitable to evaluate mixtures of organic pollutants in wastewater and recycled water. Omics approaches such as transcriptomics can monitor biological effects at the genome scale. However, few studies have applied omics approach in the assessment of mixtures of organic micropollutants. Here, an omics approach was developed for profiling bioactivity of 10 water samples ranging from wastewater to drinking water in human cells by a reduced human transcriptome (RHT) approach and dose-response modeling. Transcriptional expression of 1200 selected genes were measured by an Ampliseq technology in two cell lines, HepG2 and MCF7, that were exposed to eight serial dilutions of each sample. Concentration-effect models were used to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and to calculate effect concentrations (ECs) of DEGs, which could be ranked to investigate low dose response. Furthermore, molecular pathways disrupted by different samples were evaluated by Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis. The ability of RHT for representing bioactivity utilizing both HepG2 and MCF7 was shown to be comparable to the results of previous in vitro bioassays. Finally, the relative potencies of the mixtures indicated by RHT analysis were consistent with the chemical profiles of the samples. RHT analysis with human cells provides an efficient and cost-effective approach to benchmarking mixture of micropollutants and may offer novel insight into the assessment of mixture toxicity in water.

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