To assess interaction effects between cadmium (Cd, a putative xenoestrogen) and estradiol-17?? (E2) on sex differentiation and metamorphosis, Xenopus laevis were exposed to solvent-control (0.005% ethanol), Cd (10 ??g L-1), E2 (1 ??g L-1), or Cd and E2 (Cd + E2) in FETAX medium from fertilization to 75 d postfertilization. Each treatment was applied to four aquaria, each with 30 fertilized eggs. Mortality was recorded and animals were sampled as they completed metamorphosis (Nieuwkoop and Faber stage 66). Gonadal sex of individuals (including tadpoles ???NF stage 55 at day 75) was determined gross-morphologically and used to compute sex ratios. Time course and percent completion of metamorphosis, snout-vent length (SVL), hindlimb length (HLL) and weight were analyzed for each gender separately. Survival rates did not differ among treatments. The E2 and Cd + E2 treatments significantly skewed sex ratios towards females; however, no sex-ratio differences were observed between the control and Cd treatments or between the E2 and Cd + E2 treatments. Time course of metamorphosis was generally delayed and percent completion of metamorphosis was generally reduced in males and females exposed to Cd, E2 or their combination compared to control animals. In males, but not females, the effect of Cd + E2 was greater than that of individual chemicals. Weight at completion of metamorphosis was reduced only in females and only by the Cd + E2 treatment. In conclusion, although Cd at an environmentally relevant concentration did not exhibit direct or indirect feminizing effects in Xenopus tadpoles, the metal and E2 both had similar inhibitory effects on metamorphosis that were of greater magnitude in males than females.
Additional publication details
Effects of cadmium, estradiol-17β and their interaction on gonadal condition and metamorphosis of male and female African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis