The feasibility of using mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) for detecting endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the freshwater environment



We evaluated the utility of gene-transcriptional responses in the liver of mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), a species introduced to many countries and therefore widely available, for detecting endocrine-disrupting activity in water. Exposure to β-naphthoflavone, an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, significantly increased the transcript of the cytochrome P4501A gene (cyp1a), peaking at 24 h, in both sexes at concentrations of 10 µg/L or more. 17β-Estradiol (E2) at 500 ng/L increased the number of males showing gene transcription of precursors of yolk protein, vitellogenin (Vtga, Vtgb, and Vtgc), at 24, 48, and 72 h. Exposure for 48 h to bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen mimic, also increased vtg-positive males at 1 mg/L or more. Leachate from a Japanese stable-type landfill significantly increased vtg-positive males after 48 h exposure, and the in vitro activity of the leachate against the estrogen receptor (ER) was estimated as an E2 equivalent of 240 ng/L by yeast transfected with the ER. Chemical analysis showed that major contributors to the ER activation were BPA and 4-tert-octylphenol. This leachate and drainage water from a control-type landfill had AhR activities, estimated by yeast with the AhR, but had no significant effect on cyp1a transcription. These results showed that mosquitofish are suitable for detecting in vivo AhR and ER effects, but are insensitive to E2. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:2778–2785. © 2011 SETAC