Androgenic Effects of the Progestin Levonorgestrel in Three-spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculatus)
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The extensive use of pharmaceuticals and their poor removal by wastewater treatment plants has led to the emergence of pharmaceutical compounds as global aquatic contaminants. Progestins, the synthetic analogues to progesterone, are receiving increasing attention as contaminants and have been shown to impair reproduction in fish and amphibians at low ng L-1 concentrations. Certain progestins, like levonorgestrel (LNG), have androgenic properties and are several orders of magnitude more potent in terms of reproductive impairment in fish than non-androgenic progestins. We exposed three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to LNG to investigate its androgenic effects in fish. Male stickleback kidneys produce spiggin, a glue-like glycoprotein used in nest building. Spiggin production is directly and specifically governed by androgens and its induction in females serves as the best known biomarker for androgen exposure in fish. In the present project females were exposed to LNG for 21 days after which effects on spiggin biomarkers and vitellogenesis were evaluated. Male sticklebacks that were in the final stage of a breeding period were exposed to various concentrations of LNG for six weeks under winter conditions, after which reproductive status was evaluated from gross morphology, histology and key gene transcript levels. In female sticklebacks, LNG induced spiggin production in the kidneys and suppressed vitellogenesis in the liver. In males, LNG inhibited the post-breeding regression of secondary sex characters and spiggin production, as well as the resumption of spermatogenesis; thus LNG functionally inhibits the natural transition from breeding into non-breeding condition. Suppression of vitellogenesis in females and disruption of the male reproductive cycle as shown in this thesis could entail severe fitness costs and severely affect natural stickleback populations. Some of the present effects occurred at 6.5 ng L-1, well within the range of environmental LNG levels, and may therefore occur in progestin-contaminated waters. In conclusion, the present results establish LNG as a highly potent androgenic pollutant of environmental concern, and support the contention that the reproductive impairment in fish caused by progestins could to a significant degree be mediated by their androgenic properties.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 36 p.
Research subject Biology with specialization in Environmental Toxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240608OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240608DiVA: diva2:776828
2014-02-07, Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum, Norbyvägen 18A, 75236, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Brunström, BjörnBrandt, Ingvar
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