Gut microbiota-mediated tributyltin-induced metabolic disorder in rats†
Tributyltin (TBT), an environmental pollutant widely used in antifouling coatings, can cause multiple-organ toxicity and gut microbiome dysbiosis in organisms, and can even cause changes in the host metabolomic profiles. However, little is known about the underlying effects and links of TBT-induced metabolic changes and gut microbiome dysbiosis. In this study, rats were exposed to TBT at a dose of 100 μg kg−1 body weight (BW) for 38 days, followed by multi-omics analysis, including microbiome, metabolomics, and metallomics. Results showed that TBT exposure reduced rat weight gain and decreased the serum triglyceride (TG) level. Metabolic analysis revealed that TBT fluctuated linoleic acid metabolism and glycerophospholipid metabolism in the liver; the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle), nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism, and arachidonic acid metabolism in serum; glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism, the one carbon pool by folate, nicotinate, and nicotinamide metabolism; and tryptophan metabolism in feces. Furthermore, TBT treatment dictated liver inflammation due to enhancing COX-2 expression by activating protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK) and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) to induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress instead of stimulating arachidonic acid metabolism. Meanwhile, alteration of the intestinal flora [Acetivibrio]_ethanolgignens_group, Acetatifactor, Eisenbergiella, Lachnospiraceae_UCG-010, Enterococcus, Anaerovorax, and Bilophila under TBT exposure were found to be involved in further mediating liver inflammation, causing lipid metabolism abnormalities, such as TG, linoleic acid, and glycerophospholipids, and interfering with the energy supply process. Among these, [Acetivibrio]_ethanolgignens_group, Enterococcus, and Bilophila could be considered as potential biomarkers for TBT exposure based on receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.