Molecular and cellular effects of chemicals disrupting steroidogenesis during early ovarian development of brown trout (Salmo trutta fario)

M. L. A Marca Pereira, E. Eppler, Karen Thorpe, J. R. Wheeler, P. Burkhardt-Holm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A range of chemicals found in the aquatic environment have the potential to influence endocrine function and affect sexual development by mimicking or antagonizing the effects of hormones, or by altering the synthesis and metabolism of hormones. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the effects of chemicals interfering with sex hormone synthesis may affect the regulation of early ovarian development via the modulation of sex steroid and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) systems. To this end, ex vivo ovary cultures of juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) were exposed for 2 days to either 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione (ATD, a specific aromatase inhibitor), prochloraz (an imidazole fungicide), or tributyltin (TBT, a persistent organic pollutant). Further, juvenile female brown trout were exposed in vivo for 2 days to prochloraz or TBT. The ex vivo and in vivo ovarian gene expression of the aromatase (CYP19), responsible for estrogen production, and of IGF1 and 2 were compared. Moreover, 17β-estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) production from ex vivo ovary cultures was assessed. Ex vivo exposure to ATD inhibited ovarian E2 synthesis, while T levels accumulated. However, ATD did not affect ex vivo expression of cyp19, igf1, or igf2. Ex vivo exposure to prochloraz inhibited ovarian E2 production, but did not affect T levels. Further prochloraz up-regulated igf1 expression in both ex vivo and in vivo exposures. TBT exposure did not modify ex vivo synthesis of either E2 or T. However, in vivo exposure to TBT down-regulated igf2 expression. The results indicate that ovarian inhibition of E2 production in juvenile brown trout might not directly affect cyp19 and igf gene expression. Thus, we suggest that the test chemicals may interfere with both sex steroid and IGF systems in an independent manner, and based on published literature, potentially lead to endocrine dysfunction and altered sexual development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number2
Early online date24 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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