Dicamba affects sex steroid hormone level and mRNA expression of related genes in adult rare minnow (Gobiocypris rarus) at environmentally relevant concentrations

Authors

  • Lifei Zhu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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  • Wei Li,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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  • Jinmiao Zha,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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  • Zijian Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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ABSTRACT

Dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide that has been detected in surface and ground water. The herbicide has been shown to have cytogeneic and DNA damaging effects and to cause organ damage in mammals; however, little is known about the endocrine disrupting effects of dicamba in fish. In this study, histological changes, plasma vitellogenin (VTG) and sex hormone levels, and mRNA expression of sex steroid hormone-related genes were determined in adult rare minnow exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of dicamba (0, 0.05, 0.5, 5, and 50 μg/L) for 40 days. The results showed inhibition of spermatogenesis in male testes and ovarian degeneration in females. Plasma 17β-estradiol (E2) levels were significantly increased in both genders, and plasma VTG levels were significantly increased in males (p < 0.05). These results indicate that sex hormone homeostasis and normal reproduction of fish could be affected by dicamba. Moreover, the mRNA levels of vtg were significantly upregulated in the livers and gonads of both male and female rare minnows (p < 0.05). The downregulation of cytochrome P450c19a (cyp19a) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (star) mRNA levels, and the upregulation of cytochrome P450c17 (cyp17) mRNA levels were observed in the livers and ovaries (p < 0.05). The results of the mRNA analysis suggest that changes in steroid hormone-related gene expression could serve as a regulatory mechanism to maintain sex hormone homeostasis. Overall, dicamba exposure could result in histological lesions, plasma VTG increases, changes in sex hormone levels, and alterations of hormone-related gene expression. Therefore, dicamba should be considered to be a potential endocrine disruptor. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 30: 693–703, 2015.

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