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Aquat Toxicol. 2003 Dec 10;65(4):397-411.

Gonad development and vitellogenin production in zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to ethinylestradiol and methyltestosterone.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. stefan.orn@pat.slu.se


In a partial life-cycle test, the impact of 17alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) and 17alpha-methyltestosterone (MT) on juvenile zebrafish was evaluated by use of vitellogenin measurements and gonadal development. Exposure to EE2 (1-25 ng/l) resulted in a dose-dependent increase in vitellogenin production starting at 2 ng/l. Significant changes in sex ratios in female direction were detected at 1 ng/l, with complete sex reversal taking place after exposure to 2 ng/l. No intersex fish were observed after exposure to EE2. Exposure to MT resulted in decreased vitellogenin concentrations. Complete sex reversal was detected in all MT concentrations used (26-1000 ng/l). A large proportion of intersex fish was observed after exposure to 1000 ng MT/l. The period of gonadal sex reversal in non-exposed zebrafish was also studied. The main morphological features of the transformation of ovaries into testis were observed 4-5 weeks after hatching.

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