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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1997 Nov;108(2):237-46.

Increased circulating levels of testosterone and corticosterone in southern toads, Bufo terrestris, exposed to coal combustion waste.

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Department of Zoology and Wildlife Science, Auburn University, 331 Funchess Hall, Auburn, Alabama, 36849, USA.


This study describes an interrenal stress response in adult toads, Bufo terrestris, after exposure to coal combustion waste (characterized by a variety of trace elements). In the first portion of this study, free-ranging male toads captured at the coal ash polluted site exhibited significantly higher circulating levels of corticosterone (B) in both June/July and August than conspecifics captured at uncontaminated sites. In addition, both calling and noncalling males from the polluted site had higher B levels than conspecifics engaged in the same behaviors at reference sites. Testosterone levels were elevated in toads from the polluted site, regardless of capture month or behavioral state, suggesting altered androgen production, utilization, and/or clearance. In the second portion of this study, male toads from reference sites were transplanted to enclosures at the polluted site or an uncontaminated site. Toads held at the polluted site exhibited significant increases in B after 10 days of exposure compared to toads held at the reference site. B levels remained significantly elevated in toads transplanted to the polluted site after 12 weeks. We hypothesize that high concentrations of various trace elements in the polluted site are responsible for these hormonal responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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