- Excessive fluoride could inhibit endochondral ossification.
- Fluoride down-regulated most endochondral ossification related genes expression.
- Ihh was expressed in prehypertrophic chondrocytes.
- Sox9 was expressed in proliferous, prehypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes.
- Fluoride did not cause any affect in the location of the Ihh and Sox9 mRNA.
Endochondral ossification, the process by which most of the bone is formed, is regulated by many specific groups of molecules and extracellular matrix components. Hind limb of Bufo gargarizans is a model to study endochondral ossification during metamorphosis. Chinese toad (Bufo gargarizans) were exposed to different fluoride concentrations (0, 1, 5, 10 and 20mgL-1) from G3 to G42. The development of hind limb of B. gargarizans was observed using the double staining methodology. The transcriptome of hind limb of B. gargarizans was conducted using RNA-seq approach, and differentially expressed gene was also validated. In addition, the location of Sox9 and Ihh in the growth cartilage was determined using in situ hybridization. Our results showed that 5mgL-1 stimulated bone mineralization, while 10 and 20mgL-1 exposure could inhibit the tibio-fibula, tarsus and metacarpals ossification. Besides, 10?mg F/L treatment could down-regulate Ihh, Sox9, D2, D3, TRa, TRß, Wnt10, FGF3 and BMP6 expression, while up-regulate ObRb and HHAT mRNA expression in the hind limb of B. gargarizans. Transcript level changes of Ihh, Sox9, D2, D3, TRa, TRß, Wnt10, FGF3 and BMP6 were consistent with the results of RT-qPCR. In situ hybridization revealed that Ihh was expressed in prehypertrophic chondrocytes, while Sox9 was abundantly expressed in proliferous, prehypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes. However, 10mg F-/L did not cause any affect in the location of the Ihh and Sox9 mRNA. Therefore, high concentration of fluoride could affect the ossification-related genes mRNA expression and then inhibit the endochondral ossification. The present study thus will greatly contribute to our understanding of the effect of environmental contaminant on ossification in amphibian.