Author(s): Ankley GT, Johnson RD
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), particularly those that affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis of vertebrates, have become a focus of regulatory screening and testing throughout the world. Small fish species, principally the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), and zebrafish (Danio rerio), are used as model organisms for several of these testing programs. Fish are appropriate models for testing EDCs, not only from the perspective of existing ecological impacts, but also in terms of species extrapolation. Specifically, there is a significant degree of conservation of basic aspects of the HPG axis across vertebrates, which provides a technically robust basis for using results from fish tests to predict likely modes/mechanisms of action of potential EDCs in other vertebrates. Different experimental designs/endpoints for partial- and full-life cycle tests with fish that enable a consideration of a broad range of EDCs are described. Examples of results with specific chemicals in tests with the fathead minnow, medaka, and zebrafish are presented and discussed in terms of sensitivity and specificity for different classes of EDCs.