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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Sep 1;41(17):6305-10.

Estrogen-induced alterations in amh and dmrt1 expression signal for disruption in male sexual development in the zebrafish.

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Laboratory for Endocrinology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 8, NL-3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Dmrt1 and amh are genes involved in vertebrate sex differentiation. In this study, we cloned dmrt1 and amh cDNAs in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and investigated the effects of exposure to 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2), during early life on their patterns of expression and impact on the subsequent gonadal phenotype. Expression of both amh and dmrt1 in embryos was detected as early as at 1 day post fertilization (dpf) and enhanced expression of amh from 25 dpf was associated with the period of early gonadal differentiation. Sex-dependent differences in enhanced green fluorescent protein transgene expression driven by the promoter of the germ cell-specific vas gene were exploited to show that at 28dpf and 56dpf both amh and dmrt1 mRNA were overexpressed in males compared with females. Exposure during early life to environmentally relevant concentrations of EE2 had a suppressive effect on the expression of both amh and dmrt1 mRNAs and this was associated with a cessation/retardation in male gonadal sex development. Our findings indicate that estrogen-induced suppression in expression of dmrt1 and amh during early life correlate with subsequent disruptive effects on the sexual phenotype in males.

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