Population declines of wild Atlantic salmon have been attributed to an array of anthropogenic disturbances, including dams, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat loss, and pollution. Environmental contaminants in particular, can act as environmental stressors on fish, typically causing disruption of ion homeostasis due to their close association with the aquatic environment. To examine the effects of the xenoestrogen 4-nonylphenol (NP) or 17??-estradiol (E2) on stress sensitivity and ion regulation, we exposed juvenile Atlantic salmon continuously for 21 d to either 10 or 100 ??g/L NP (NP-L or NP-H), 2 ??g/L E2 (positive control), or vehicle control during the parr-smolt transformation in April. After treatment, fish were sampled in freshwater (FW), transferred to 30??? seawater (SW) for 24 h, or subjected to a handling stress. Estradiol and NP-H increased plasma vitellogenin in males and females, and E2 increased gonadosomatic index only in males. In FW, E2 reduced sodium potassium-activated adenosine triphosphatase activity as well as plasma levels of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and triiodothyronine. Both E2 and NP-H reduced plasma sodium in FW and increased plasma chloride in SW. Plasma cortisol levels pre- and poststressor were significantly elevated by all treatments relative to controls, but only E2 increased plasma glucose before and after the stressor. These results indicate that exposure of anadromous salmonids to environmental estrogens heightens sensitivity to external stressors, impairs ion regulation in both FW and SW, and disrupts endocrine pathways critical for smolt development. ?? 2007 SETAC.
Additional Publication Details
Aqueous exposure to 4-nonylphenol and 17??-estradiol increases stress sensitivity and disrupts ion regulatory ability of juvenile atlantic salmon