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Effects of sewage effluent and ethynyl oestradiol upon molecular markers of oestrogenic exposure, maturation and reproductive success in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus, Pallas)
Robinson, C.D.; Brown, E.; Craft, J.A.; Davies, I.M.; Moffat, C.F.; Pirie, D.; Robertson, F.; Stagg, R.M.; Struthers, S. (2003). Effects of sewage effluent and ethynyl oestradiol upon molecular markers of oestrogenic exposure, maturation and reproductive success in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus, Pallas). Aquat. Toxicol. 62(2): 119-134
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Endocrine glands; Fish; Proteins; Reproduction; RNA; Sewage effluent; Vitellogenesis; Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Robinson, C.D., correspondent
  • Brown, E.
  • Craft, J.A.
  • Davies, I.M., more
  • Moffat, C.F.
  • Pirie, D.
  • Robertson, F.
  • Stagg, R.M.
  • Struthers, S.

Abstract
    Male fish in several UK estuaries are known to be exposed to oestrogenic contamination, and whilst a limited number of studies have shown that exposure to oestrogens can reduce the reproductive success of fish, the impact of environmentally relevant exposures is less clear. The aim of this study was, therefore, to investigate the effects of exposure to environmentally realistic concentrations of a sewage effluent and the synthetic oestrogen 17alpha-ethynyl oestradiol (EE2) upon the reproductive success of a marine fish. Sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus) were exposed for 7 months to EE2 or a sewage effluent containing known xeno-oestrogens (alkylphenol polyethoxylates) and bred using within treatment crosses. Nominal exposure concentrations were 6 ng l-1 EE2, 0.3 or 0.03% v/v sewage effluent. At the end of the breeding trials, expression of hepatic zona radiata protein (Zrp) and vitellogenin (Vtg) mRNA were determined using two recently developed cDNA probes. Exposure to 6 ng l-1 EE2 induced Zrp and Vtg mRNA expression in male and female sand goby, impaired male maturation and reproductive behaviour, reduced female fecundity and reduced egg fertility. As a consequence, fertile egg production of the EE2-exposed population was reduced by 90%. Exposure to sewage effluent (0.3% v/v) increased adult mortality and female Zrp and Vtg mRNA expression, but did not induce male vitellogenesis. Exposure to EE2 and 0.3% v/v sewage effluent impaired development of the male urogenital papilla. Fish exposed to 0.03% v/v sewage effluent produced more fertile eggs than those exposed to 0.3% effluent, or those receiving no effluent. It is concluded that male vitellogenesis in an oestrogenically exposed population may be accompanied by reduced reproductive success, but that it may not be indicative of altered reproductive output in a population exposed to an industrial sewage effluent.

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