Author(s): Scott AP, Katsiadaki I, Kirby MF, Thain J, Scott AP, Katsiadaki I, Kirby MF, Thain J
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Abstract High concentrations of vitellogenin (VTG; egg yolk protein) have previously been found in male flounder (Platichthys flesus) from several UK estuaries; these levels have been ascribed to the presence of estrogenic endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs). Gonadal abnormalities, including intersex, have also been recorded in these estuaries. However, there is no firm evidence to date that these two findings are causally linked or that the presence of estrogenic EDCs has any adverse population effects. In the present study, we examined the relationship between concentrations of VTG and sex steroids (11-oxo-testosterone in males and 17beta-estradiol in females) in specimens of flounder captured from the estuary of the River Mersey. We first questioned whether the high concentrations of VTG in male and immature female flounder were indeed caused by a direct effect of exogenous EDCs and not indirectly via the endogenous secretion of 17beta-estradiol. The data favored the direct involvement of estrogenic EDCs. We then questioned whether the presence of estrogenic EDCs not only stimulated inappropriate VTG synthesis but whether it might also have had a negative effect on endogenous steroid secretion. It should be noted that the predicted consequences of a drop in steroid secretion include smaller gonads, smaller oocytes, fewer numbers of sperm, and depressed spawning behavior. This question was more difficult to answer because of the strong effect of the seasonal reproductive cycle and stage of maturation on steroid concentrations. However, matched by month of capture and stage of maturation, both 17beta-estradiol in females and 11-keto-testosterone in males were in most cases significantly lower in those years when VTG concentrations were higher.
This article was published in Environ Health Perspect
and referenced in Biosensors Journal