• Endocrine disruptor;
  • Androgen;
  • Antiandrogen;
  • Masculinization;
  • Diuretic


The discovery of pharmaceuticals in effluent from wastewater treatment plants and drug manufacturing facilities and in receiving waters has raised environmental concern. Because these compounds are ending up in the environment, it is important to investigate the effects of these compounds on wildlife as well as humans. The present study used a fish model to investigate the endocrine-disrupting effects of spironolactone (SPL), an aldosterone antagonist used as a diuretic, but which also exhibits antiandrogenic effects in humans. A dose–response study measured the effects of SPL on anal fin ray elongation, an androgen-dependent secondary sex trait, and expression of the vitellogenin gene, an estrogen-dependent trait, in female western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis. Fish were exposed to SPL in the water for 35 d at four nominal concentrations: 10, 100, 250, and 500 nM (4.2, 41.7, 104.1, and 208.3 µg/L, respectively) via the static renewal method. Masculinization of females, as evidenced by development of an elongated and modified anal fin, was observed in the fish exposed to the three highest concentrations. Anal fin elongation was observed in the group exposed to the lowest SPL concentration, but without the development of a tip apparatus. These results confirm the results of a preliminary study that, in contrast to antiandrogenic effects seen in humans, SPL has androgenic and/or antiestrogenic activity in a fish. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1376–1382. © 2011 SETAC