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Chemosphere. 2008 Feb;70(9):1609-19. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Effect of mono-ortho and di-ortho substituted polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners on leopard frog survival and sexual development.

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  • 1Area de Biología, Departamento de Bioquímica y Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Chacabuco y Pedernera, 5700 San Luis, Argentina.


We tested the effect of mono-ortho and di-ortho PCB congeners on northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) hatching success, survival and sexual development. Embryos and tadpoles were exposed to two levels (0.5 and 50 microg/l) of two PCBs. PCBs 101 and 70 were selected because they were present in amphibians collected in the Fox River-Green Bay ecosystem and they have the theoretical structural requirements to be able to bind to the estrogen receptor and mediate estrogenic responses. The exposure of leopard frog embryos and tadpoles to PCB 70 and 101 did not significantly affect hatchability, survival, deformities or growth. There were significant departures from the expected 50:50 sex ratio in tadpoles/froglets exposed to PCB 101 and PCB 70. In all the cases of significant departure, the bias was towards higher number of females. Decrease in the proportion of male gonads and increase in the proportion of intersex gonads were observed with increasing PCB tissue concentrations. The effects of PCB congeners on sexual differentiation occur at concentrations higher than observed in frogs in the Fox River/Green Bay ecosystem.

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