Induction and recovery of estrogenic effects after short-term 17β-estradiol exposure in juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
Estrogenic compounds found in the aquatic environment include natural and synthetic estrogen hormones as well as other less potent estrogenic xenobiotics. In this study, a comprehensive approach was used to examine effects on fish endocrine system endpoints during a short-term xenoestrogen exposure as well as after post-exposure recovery. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to an aqueous 17β-estradiol (E2) concentration of 0.473 µg l-1 for 2 and 7 days (d) followed by a 14-d recovery period. At d2 and d7, plasma E2 concentrations in treated fish were 458- and 205-fold higher than in control fish and 23- and 16-fold higher than the exposure water concentration. E2 treatment resulted in significant increases in hepatosomatic index (HSI), plasma vitellogenin (VTG) protein concentrations, and liver VTG and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA levels. All of these parameters, with the exception of plasma VTG protein, returned to baseline values during the recovery period. Plasma cortisol concentrations were unaffected by treatment. This research shows varied time frames of the estrogen-responsive molecular-, biochemical-, and tissue-level alterations, as well as their persistence, in juvenile rainbow trout treated with aqueous E2. These results have implications for feral rainbow trout exposed to xenoestrogens and indicate the importance of evaluating a comprehensive suite of endpoints in assessing the impact of this type of environmental contaminant.