Evaluation of a 40 day Assay for Testing Endocrine Disrupters: Effects of an Anti-Estrogen and an Aromatase Inhibitor on Sex Ratio and Vitellogenin Concentrations in Juvenile Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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In the present study, the effects of the anti-estrogen ZM 189,156 and the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole were evaluated in a 40-day juvenile assay developed for screening of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Juvenile zebrafish were exposed from 20 to 60 days post hatch (dph) to ZM 189, 154 (100 μ;g l−1 and 200 μ;g l−1) and fadrozole (10, 32, and 100 μ;g l−1). VTG concentrations were measured at 38 dph by the use of a direct non-competitive sandwich ELISA and sex ratios were determined at 60 dph by histological examination of the gonads. A small but significant increase in VTG concentrations was observed in fish exposed to ZM 189, 156 (100 and 200 μ;g l−1) and fadrozole (10 and 100 μ;g l−1) compared to control groups. In fish exposed to ZM 189, 156 and fadrozole, the percentage of females declined and the number of undifferentiated fish increased. These findings show that exposure of juvenile zebrafish to an aromatase inhibitor or an anti-estrogen during early development inhibits differentiation and development of female gonads. The data presented, furthermore, show that the 40-day juvenile assay may be suitable for screening endocrine disrupting chemicals acting as anti-estrogens and aromatase inhibitors.

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