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Isolation and characterization of two cytochrome P450 aromatase forms in killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus): differential expression in fish from polluted and unpolluted environments
Greytak, S.R.; Champlin, D.; Callard, G.V. (2005). Isolation and characterization of two cytochrome P450 aromatase forms in killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus): differential expression in fish from polluted and unpolluted environments. Aquat. Toxicol. 71(4): 371-389.
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    PCB; Reproduction; Fundulus heteroclitus (Linnaeus, 1766) [WoRMS]; ANW, USA, Massachusetts, New Bedford Harbor [Marine Regions]; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water

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  • Greytak, S.R.
  • Champlin, D.
  • Callard, G.V.

    Populations of killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) persist in many different highly polluted environment indicative of adaptation or tolerance. In this study, we sought to determine whether long term, multigenerational exposures to environmental contaminants has affected reproductively relevant genes and biological processes. A homology cloning strategy was used to isolate the killifish cytochrome P450 aromatase (P450arom, estrogen synthetase) cDNAs. Consistent with previous fish studies, killifish were found to have two P450arom forms, which segregated into A- and B-gene clades and were differentially expressed in brain (B double greater-than sign A) and ovary (A double greater-than sign B). Comparison of killifish from highly polluted (New Bedford Harbor, NBH) and unpolluted (Scorton Creek, SC) environments revealed no site-related differences in P450arom coding sequences or in overall tissue distribution patterns. As measured by real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) analysis, however, P450arormB (a known marker of estrogen effect) was approximately two-fold higher in the brain of NBH than of SC fish, a difference seen in reproductively active and inactive males and females. Providing further evidence of exposure to estrogen-like pollutants or metabolites in NBH, vitellogenin (vtg) mRNA and protein were elevated in seasonally active and inactive males, and in reproductively inactive females, when compared to SC fish. By contrast, during the period of reproductive activity, NBH females had a lower gonadosomatic index, lower plasma estrogen, a decreased hepatosomatic index, and reduced vtg expression as compared to SC females, indicating that the female hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG)-liver axis is impaired in the polluted environment. As measured by a decrease in plasma androgen (but not GSI), the male HPG axis was impaired in reproductively active NBH versus SC fish. In agreement with reports that NBH killifish are resistant to dioxin-like chemicals (DLC) that activate arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling, ovarian P450aromA (a marker of dioxin-like effect in zebrafish embryos) did not differ in SC and NBH fish. In conclusion, the killifish population at the NBH Superfund site maintains a level of reproductive competence in the face of evidence of exposure to estrogen-like pollutants and endocrine disruption.

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