Effects of ethynylestradiol on the reproductive physiology in zebrafish (Danio rerio) : time dependency and reversibility
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
New York, N.Y.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 767-775
University of Antwerp
Environmental pollution with natural or synthetic estrogens may pose a serious threat to reproduction of wildlife species. This study describes the effects of 17-alpha-ethynylestradiol (EE2) on fish reproductive organs in a laboratory model. Adult zebrafish were semistatically exposed to nominal concentrations of 0, 10, and 25 ng/L EE2 for 24 d and then transferred to EE2-free medium. Gonadosomatic index (GSI), plasma vitellogenin concentration (VTG), and histology of the gonads (control and 10 ng/L only) were examined as a function of time. It was found that EE2 has an adverse impact on both male and female reproductive organs. Notably in females, gonadal changes were observed through histological evaluation after 3 d of exposure to 10 ng/L EE2, and this was followed by a reduction of GSI at day 6 of exposure. In males, a reduction of GSI and altered testis histology was found after 24 d of exposure to 10 ng/L. The observed effects on the ovary after EE2 exposure, combined with complete recovery after 24 d is considered to be triggered by feedback at the level of the pituitary. In both males and females, VTG was induced in response to EE2 and normalized during the recovery period. The observed correlation between VTG and ovarian somatic index (OSI) demonstrates that excessive VTG induction may be predictive for adverse effects of EE2 on ovarian function in female zebrafish. These results indicate that long-term stimulation by synthetic estrogens such as EE2 might impair reproductive function in zebrafish in a reversible manner.