Mugilid Fish Are Sentinels of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Coastal and Estuarine Environments
Ortiz Zarragoitia, Maren
Bizarro Villán, Cristina
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Marine Drugs 12(9) : 4756-4782 (2014)
Effects on fish reproduction can result from a variety of toxicity mechanisms first operating at the molecular level. Notably, the presence in the environment of some compounds termed endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can cause adverse effects on reproduction by interfering with the endocrine system. In some cases, exposure to EDCs leads to the animal feminization and male fish may develop oocytes in testis (intersex condition). Mugilid fish are well suited sentinel organisms to study the effects of reproductive EDCs in the monitoring of estuarine/marine environments. Up-regulation of aromatases and vitellogenins in males and juveniles and the presence of intersex individuals have been described in a wide array of mullet species worldwide. There is a need to develop new molecular markers to identify early feminization responses and intersex condition in fish populations, studying mechanisms that regulate gonad differentiation under exposure to xenoestrogens. Interestingly, an electrophoresis of gonad RNA, shows a strong expression of 5S rRNA in oocytes, indicating the potential of 5S rRNA and its regulating proteins to become useful molecular makers of oocyte presence in testis. Therefore, the use of these oocyte markers to sex and identify intersex mullets could constitute powerful molecular biomarkers to assess xenoestrogenicity in field conditions.