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Environ Res. 2014 Aug;133:371-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.05.018. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Complete feminization of catfish by feeding Limnodilus, an annelid worm collected in contaminated streams.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Freshwater Fish Reproduction and Development (Ministry of Education), Key Laboratory of Aquatic Science of Chongqing, School of Life Science, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.
2
Key Laboratory of Freshwater Fish Reproduction and Development (Ministry of Education), Key Laboratory of Aquatic Science of Chongqing, School of Life Science, Southwest University, Chongqing, China; Department of Hematology, Xinqiao Hospital, The Third Military Medical University, Xinqiao Street, Chongqing, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Freshwater Fish Reproduction and Development (Ministry of Education), Key Laboratory of Aquatic Science of Chongqing, School of Life Science, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. Electronic address: wdeshou@swu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Feminization of animals derived from areas polluted by endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been observed in all classes of vertebrates. However, feminization of artificially reared offspring by feeding of specific living organisms has never been reported.

METHODS:

Different food (including Limnodilus spp collected from the wild) and time treatment were applied to southern catfish. In addition, EDCs in Limnodilus spp., an annelid worm collected from wild contaminated small streams, was detected by LC-MS (Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry). Serum estradiol-17β and vitellogenin (VTG) levels and gonadal Sf1, Dmrt1, Foxl2, Cyp19a1a expression levels in the catfish were measured through Estradiol/VTG EIA Kit and real-time PCR.

RESULTS:

Here we report that feeding of Limnodilus spp. resulted in complete feminization of southern catfish, which has a 1:1 sex ratio in wild conditions. Furthermore, HPLC analysis showed that the extraction of Limnodilus spp. contained EDCs, including bisphenol A (BPA), diethylstilbestrol (DES), 4-tert-octylphenol (4-t-OP) and 4-nonylphenol (4-NP), which were further confirmed by LC-MS. Feeding southern catfish using commercial diets sprayed with EDCs cocktail also resulted in 100% female, whereas the control fish displayed approximate 1:1 sex ratio. Limnodilus spp. fed fish displayed similar serum estradiol-17β and VTG levels and gonadal Sf1, Dmrt1, Foxl2, Cyp19a1a expression levels to those of female control.

CONCLUSION:

These results demonstrated that EDCs in Limnodilus spp. cause southern catfish feminization by affecting aromatase expression and endogenous estrogen level. This is the first report showing that feeding of any living organism resulted in complete feminization of a vertebrate.

KEYWORDS:

Cyp19a1a and estrogen level; EDCs; Feminization; LC–MS; Limnodilus spp.; Southern catfish

PMID:
24952460
DOI:
10.1016/j.envres.2014.05.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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