Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The juvenile three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) as a model organism for endocrine disruption II: kidney hypertrophy, vitellogenin and spiggin induction
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Show others and affiliations
2004 (English)In: Aquatic Toxicology, ISSN 0166-445X, E-ISSN 1879-1514, Vol. 70, no 4, 311-326 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigated the suitability of juvenile three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus L., for detecting both androgen- and oestrogen-induced endocrine disruption. The investigated endpoints were kidney hypertrophy and the induction of the protein markers spiggin and vitellogenin. Juveniles were exposed to steroid hormones 17β-oestradiol (E2: nominal 0.01, 1.0 and 10 μg/L), 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2: nominal 0.05 μg/L) and 17α-methyltestosterone (MT: nominal 1.0 μg/L) from the day of hatching until the termination of the experiments between 39 and 58 days after hatching. E2 (10 μg/L) and MT were applied during different time windows: (a) 14 days after hatching only and (b) continuously with start 14 days after hatching.

Kidney hypertrophy is an androgen-dependent secondary sexual character in adult male sticklebacks and corresponds to the production of the glue protein spiggin during the breeding season. The kidneys were hypertrophied and spiggin levels were elevated in juvenile sticklebacks after treatment with MT. Paradoxically, slightly elevated spiggin levels and kidney hypertrophy were observed also in fish treated with high dose E2. Levels of vitellogenin, the oestrogen-inducible yolk precursor protein, were elevated in juvenile sticklebacks after E2 medium and high dose and EE2 treatment.

The tested endpoints are suitable for the study of endocrine disruption in juvenile sticklebacks, a fish species that is easy to handle in laboratory and relevant for temperate geographical regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2004. Vol. 70, no 4, 311-326 p.
Keyword [en]
Gasterosteus aculeatus; Stickleback; Sex steroids; Vitellogenin; Spiggin; Endocrine disruption
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23436DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2004.10.004OAI: diva2:192098
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-296Available from: 2004-11-18 Created: 2004-11-18 Last updated: 2011-01-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The juvenile three-spined stickleback: model organism for the study of estrogenic and androgenic endocrine disruption in laboratory and field
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The juvenile three-spined stickleback: model organism for the study of estrogenic and androgenic endocrine disruption in laboratory and field
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Industrial and domestic sewage effluents have been found to cause reproductive disorders in wild fish, often as a result of the interference of compounds in the effluents with the endocrine system. This thesis describes laboratory-based exposure experiments and a field survey that were conducted with juveniles of the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. This small teleost is a common fish in Swedish coastal waters and was chosen as an alternative to non-native test species commonly used in endocrine disruption studies, which allows the comparison of field data with results from laboratory experiments.

The aim of this thesis was to elucidate 1) if genetic sex determination and differentiation can be disturbed by natural and synthetic steroid hormones and 2) whether this provides an endpoint for the detection of endocrine disruption, 3) to evaluate the applicability of specific estrogen- and androgen-inducible marker proteins in juvenile three-spined sticklebacks, 4) to investigate whether estrogenic and/or androgenic endocrine disrupting activity can be detected in effluents from Swedish pulp mills and domestic sewage treatment plants and 5) whether such activity can be detected in coastal waters receiving these effluents.

Laboratory exposure experiments found juvenile three-spined sticklebacks to be sensitive to water-borne estrogenic and androgenic steroid substances. Intersex – the co-occurrence of ovarian and testicular tissue in gonads – was induced by 17β-estradiol (E2), 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), 17α-methyltestosterone (MT) and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The first two weeks after hatching was the phase of highest sensitivity. MT was ambivalent by simultaneously eliciting masculinizing and feminizing effects. When applying a DNA-based method for genetic sex identification, it was found that application of MT only during the first two weeks after hatching caused total and apparently irreversible development of testis in genetic females. E2 caused gonad type reversal from male to female. E2 and EE2 induced vitellogenin - the estrogen-responsive yolk precursor protein, while DHT and MT induced spiggin – the androgen-responsive glue protein of the stickleback.

None of the effluents from two pulp mills and two domestic sewage treatment plants had any estrogenic or androgenic activity. Juvenile three-spined sticklebacks were collected during four subsequent summers at the Swedish Baltic Sea coast in recipients of effluents from pulp mills and a domestic sewage treatment plant as well as remote reference sites. No sings of endocrine disruption were observed at any site, when studying gonad development or marker proteins, except for a deviation of sex ratios at a reference site.

The three-spined stickleback – with focus on the juvenile stage – was found to be a sensitive species suitable for the study of estrogenic and androgenic endocrine disruption.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för systemekologi, 2004. 40 p.
endocrine disruption
National Category
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-296 (URN)91-7265-976-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-12-10, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-11-18 Created: 2004-11-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Adolfsson-Erici, Margaretha
By organisation
Department of Systems EcologyDepartment of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)
In the same journal
Aquatic Toxicology
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 103 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link