Effects of representative mid-Michigan (USA) wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents on the reproductive physiology of common goldfish (Carassius auratus) were assessed in situ by measuring plasma concentrations of vitellogenin (VTG), 17β-estradiol (E2), and testosterone (T), and evaluating gonad histology. Caged adult male and female goldfish were exposed for six weeks to WWTP effluents. One riverine site and one lacustrine site were included as references for comparison to WWTP sites. There was differential growth and gonadal development among locations, which confounded the interpretation of biomarker responses. A linear contrast model was developed by analysis of covariance, and adjusted values were developed for concentrations of VTG, E2, and T in the plasma of both male and female fish. In general, VTG concentrations were significantly less in male than in female goldfish. Most concentrations of VTG in male goldfish were less than the method detection limit. There were no significant differences in plasma VTG of either male or female goldfish among locations or between sites at WWTPs and reference sites. Concentrations of E2 in the plasma of female goldfish were similar among WWTP sites, all of which were less than in females at a pond reference location. Concentrations of E2 in the plasma of male goldfish were similar at all WWTP locations, except for one, where they were greater. No consistent trends in hormone concentrations or gonadal histology could be attributed to putative endocrine disrupter exposure in WWTP effluents. The results indicate that the risk for estrogen agonist exposure below these mid-Michigan WWTPs is small.
- Endocrine disruption
- Sex steroids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis