Exposure to the contraceptive progestin, gestodene, alters reproductive behavior, arrests egg deposition, and masculinizes development in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Endogenous progestogens and pharmaceutical progestins enter the environment through wastewater treatment plant effluent and agricultural field runoff. Lab studies demonstrate strong, negative exposure effects of these chemicals on aquatic vertebrate reproduction. Behavior can be a sensitive, early indicator of exposure to environmental contaminants associated with altered reproduction yet is rarely examined in ecotoxicology studies. Gestodene is a human contraceptive progestin and a potent activator of fish androgen receptors. Our objective was to test the effects of gestodene on reproductive behavior and associated egg deposition in the fathead minnow. After only 1 day, males exposed to ng/L of gestodene were more aggressive and less interested in courtship and mating, and exposed females displayed less female courtship behavior. Interestingly, 25% of the gestodene tanks contained a female that drove the male out of the breeding tile and displayed male-typical courtship behaviors toward the other female. Gestodene decreased or arrested egg deposition with no observed gonadal histopathology. Together, these results suggest that effects on egg deposition are primarily due to altered reproductive behavior. The mechanisms by which gestodene disrupts behavior are unknown. Nonetheless, the rapid and profound alterations of the reproductive biology of gestodene-exposed fish suggest that wild populations could be similarly affected.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Exposure to the contraceptive progestin, gestodene, alters reproductive behavior, arrests egg deposition, and masculinizes development in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.6b00799
Volume 50
Issue 11
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Publisher location Easton, PA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 9 p.
First page 5991
Last page 5999