Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Short-term Exposure To Estrogen Cuts Fish Fertility

Date:
June 5, 2003
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
A study by scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests that when adult male fish are exposed to short-term and low concentrations of a synthetic estrogen, their fertility can drop by as much as 50 percent.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- While several studies have focused on how estrogen from contraceptives may alter sex organs of juvenile fish, few studies have analyzed how exposure to estrogen affects adult fish as they make their way through rivers, lakes and streams to spawn. Now, a study by scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests that when adult male fish are exposed to short-term and low concentrations of a synthetic estrogen, their fertility can drop by as much as 50 percent.

The study, conducted with the University of Idaho, appears in the June issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Previous research reported that high concentrations of estrogen could change sex organs, causing juvenile male fish to develop female organs. Estrogen is an active ingredient in most oral contraceptives and often finds it way into surface waters through sewer systems. The PNNL study looked at the impact of a synthetic estrogen called ethynylestradiol, which is the chemical in oral contraceptives.

Irvin Schultz, PNNL toxicologist who led the study, said the research reinforces that impacts aren't limited to juvenile fish. "We can see that adult fish aren't immune to the effects of estrogen in waterways. Even short-term exposure to low levels of synthetic estrogen can impact their fertility," Schultz noted. "Our results indicate that the fertility of a healthy male trout that has developed normally still can be affected, if that exposure takes place during a critical sexual maturation stage before spawning."

In a controlled laboratory experiment, PNNL scientists from the lab's Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Wash., exposed adult male rainbow trout for 62 days to three different concentrations of ethynylestradiol -- 10, 100 and 1,000 nanograms per liter of water. The sperm of exposed fish were harvested then used in a controlled in-vitro fertilization process with eggs from a healthy female rainbow trout. After 28 days, a measurable decrease in fertilization was observed in the treated trout compared with a control group. In some experiments, a 50 percent decrease in sperm fertilization capacity was noted in semen collected from the trout exposed to 10 nanograms of ethynylestradiol per liter. For example, in an experiment using 50,000 sperm for one egg, the exposed fish had 22 percent fertilization compared with 45 percent fertilization of control fish.

That impact is important, say researchers, because 10 nanograms per liter is a level found in some surface water samples. Schultz and his colleagues, including co-author Jim Nagler of the University of Idaho, studied the possible mechanisms for reduced fertility, specifically sperm motility and decreased hormone levels. While they were able to rule out sperm motility as the mechanism, their research revealed increased -- not decreased -- hormone levels in the blood plasma of fish exposed to 10 nanograms per liter of ethynylestradiol. But hormone levels did decrease in fish exposed to the larger concentration of 100 nanograms of ethynylestradiol.

"While other research has shown the visible change that can take place when young male fish are exposed to high levels of estrogen, we're suggesting that low and short-term exposure can have just as significant -- but not physically observable -- effects," Schultz said.

###

Business inquiries on this or other areas of research at PNNL should be directed to 888-375-PNNL or inquiry@pnl.gov. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a DOE Office of Science research facility and delivers breakthrough science and technology in the areas of environment, energy, health, fundamental sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated the laboratory for DOE since 1965.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Short-term Exposure To Estrogen Cuts Fish Fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605083154.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2003, June 5). Short-term Exposure To Estrogen Cuts Fish Fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605083154.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Short-term Exposure To Estrogen Cuts Fish Fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030605083154.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins