Reductions in hepatic vitellogenin and estrogen receptor alpha expression by sediments from an agriculturally impacted waterway

Marlo K. Sellin, Daniel D. Snow, Alan S. Kolok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have reported alterations in the endocrine function of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) collected and deployed in the Elkhorn River. The goal of the current study was to determine whether sediment from the Elkhorn River watershed could act as a source of endocrine-active compounds. To accomplish this, four aquaria containing sexually mature fathead minnows and polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) were established. The aquaria contained either: (1) laboratory water only, (2) Elkhorn River water only, (3) laboratory water and Elkhorn River sediment or (4) Elkhorn River water and Elkhorn River sediment. Steroid hormones were not detected in the extracts of POCIS or sediment. Pesticides were detected in POCIS extracts from tanks containing Elkhorn River water, but were not detected in the extracts of sediment or POCIS suspended in the tank containing laboratory water and Elkhorn River sediment suggesting that sediments do not act as a significant source of the 14 steroid hormones or 24 pesticides that were analyzed for in the current study. The hepatic mRNA expression of vitellogenin (vtg) and estrogen receptor α (ERα) in fathead minnows from each group was assessed. Female minnows exposed simultaneously to sediment and water collected from the Elkhorn River experienced defeminization as indicated by significant reductions in both vtg and ERα expression. Significant reductions in vtg mRNA expression were also observed in females exposed to laboratory water and Elkhorn River sediment, but not in females exposed to Elkhorn River water only. This finding suggests that exposures to sediments, rather than water, collected from the Elkhorn River lead to the defeminization of females. However, the compound(s) responsible for this effect have yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 31 2010

Keywords

  • Agricultural runoff
  • Fathead minnow
  • Gene expression
  • Pesticides
  • Sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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