The impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been demonstrated in mammalian models, but less research is available for avian species. The effects of vinclozolin (VIN), an antiandrogenic fungicide, on sexual differentiation and maturation were investigated in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). On day 4 of incubation, embryos were exposed to no treatment, oil, or 25, 50, or 100 ppm of VIN. Endpoints measured included adult male reproductive behavior, hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone I (GnRH-I) content in hatchlings and adults, plasma steroid levels in hatchlings and adults, proctodeal gland growth during maturation, and relative testicular weight at seven weeks of age. Results showed that exposure to VIN significantly (p < 0.05) altered GnRH-I in male hatchlings, whereas GnRH-I levels in females remained unaffected. Although steroid levels were unaltered by any VIN treatment, the display of male reproductive behavior seemed delayed, with the number of mounts and the number of cloacal contacts being significantly (p < 0.05) lower in the VIN-treated males. This could have an extreme negative impact on wild avian species that are routinely exposed to similar EDCs.
Additional publication details
Impact of vinclozolin on reproductive behavior and endocrinology in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica)