Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (2021-01-01)

Endocrine disrupting effects of binary mixtures of 17β-estradiol and testosterone in adult female western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)

  • Gui-Zhen Fang,
  • Guo-Yong Huang,
  • Guang-Guo Ying,
  • Shu-Qing Qiu,
  • Wen-Jun Shi,
  • Lingtian Xie,
  • Yuan-Yuan Yang,
  • Dong-Dong Ma

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 208
p. 111566


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Androgens and estrogens often co-exist in aquatic environments and pose potential risks to fish populations. However, little is known about the endocrine disrupting effects of the mixture of androgens and estrogens in fish. In this study, transcriptional level of target genes related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-liver (HPGL) axis, sex hormone level, VTG protein concentration, histology and secondary sex characteristic were assessed in the ovaries and livers of adult female western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) exposed to 17β-estradiol (E2), testosterone (T), and mixtures of E2 and T for 91 days. The results showed that the transcriptional expression of cytochrome P450, family 19, subfamily A, polypeptide 1a (Cyp19a1a) was suppressed in the 200 ng/L T treatment and the 50 ng/L E2 + 200 ng/L T treatment in the ovaries. Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (Star) and Cyp11a1 showed a similar expression pattern in the T treatment to its corresponding T + E2 mixtures. In the ovaries, the concentrations of 17β-estradiol and testosterone were decreased in most treatments compared with the solvent control. VTG protein was induced in all steroid treatment. However, exposure to T or E2 + T mixture did not cause the abnormal cells of the ovaries and livers and an extension of the anal fins in female G. affinis. This study demonstrates that chronic exposure to E2, T and their mixtures affects the transcripts of genes in the HPGL axis, steroid hormone level and VTG protein concentration in the ovaries and livers, but fails to cause the histopathological effect of the ovaries and livers and alter the morphology of the anal fins in G. affinis.