The environmental fate and bioavailability of progesterone, a steroid hormone known to cause endocrine-disrupting effects in aquatic organisms, is of growing concern due to its occurrence in the environment in water and sediment influenced by wastewater treatment plant and paper mill effluents, as well as livestock production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate of progesterone in two natural sediments and the corresponding alteration of gene expression in three steroid-responsive genes; vitellogenin, androgen receptor and estrogen receptor alpha. When exposed to progesterone-spiked sand, fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exhibited significant reductions in the expression of vitellogenin and androgen receptor expression. In contrast, fish exposed to progesterone associated with the silty loam sediment did not show a biological response at 7 days and only realized a significant reduction in vitellogenin. In both sediments, progesterone degradation resulted in the production of androgens including androsteinedione, testosterone, and androstadienedione, as well as the antiestrogen, testolactone. Differences in compound fate resulted in organism exposure to different suites of metabolites either in water or associated with the sediment. Results from this study suggest that environmental progestagens will lead to defeminization at environmentally relevant concentrations, and that exposure is influenced by sediment properties. (Figure Presented).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry