• 2,4-dichlorophenol;
  • histopathology;
  • estrogen receptor;
  • vitellogenin;
  • endocrine disruption;
  • rare minnow (Gobiocypris rarus)


2,4-Dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP) is known as a toxicant, but unknown as an environmental endocrine disruptor. In the present work, Chinese rare minnow (Gobiocypris rarus) was exposed to 0.03, 0.3, and 3 mg/L 2,4-DCP for 3 d and 0.1, 0.3, and 1 mg/L 2,4-DCP for 21 d, respectively. Endpoints including somatic index, vitellogenin (VTG) mRNA and protein level, estrogen receptor (ER) mRNA and histopathology were measured. In the 3-d exposure experiment, the effect concentrations were 0.3 mg/L and above, and in 21-d exposure, the effect concentrations were 0.1 mg/L and above. When exposed to the effect concentrations, GSI was significantly reduced for both male and female, ER mRNA was upregulated in male and downregulated in female. There were no significant variations of VTG mRNA in both male and female in 3-d exposure and in male in 21-d exposure. However, VTG mRNA in female in 21-d exposure was upregulated, corresponding to an increase of VTG protein in serum. Histopathological observation showed that ovaries were degenerated in the effect concentrations, where follicular atresias were more frequently observed. Because the sex hormones related genes and toxicological endpoints were affected in the dose-dependent manner, the results suggest that 2,4-DCP could be a potential endocrine disruptor and might cause adverse effects in female sex organs through interruption of ER-mediated processes. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol, 2008.