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Cu in surface waters has been demonstrated to affect aquatic animals at ecologically relevant concentrations. However, its effects on reproductive endocrine system and the underlying toxicological mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, zebrafish (Danio rerio) were exposed to 0, 10, 20, 40 μg/L of Cu for 30 days. Growth, gonad histopathology, the hormone levels and the transcriptional profiles of genes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis in both sexes were examined. The results indicated that body weight was significantly reduced, the gonadal development was affected, and the levels of E, T and 11-KT were remarkably disturbed in Cu-exposed fish. Moreover, the expression profiles of steroidogenesis-related genes in gonad (3βhsd, 17βhsd, cyp11a1, cyp17, cyp19a, lhr, fshr, hmgra and star) and in brains (ar, cyp19b, erα, er2β, lhβ, fshβ, gnrh2, gnrh3, gnrhr1, gnrh2 and gnrh4) displayed alterations after exposure to Cu. These results demonstrated that Cu could suppress the growth of zebrafish and significantly affect the reproductive biology in both sexes by damaging the structure of the gonads, altering the steroid hormone levels and the expressions of endocrine-related genes in HPG of zebrafish. This study suggests that Cu adversely affects the reproductive endocrine system in zebrafish and could pose a potential threat to fish populations inhabiting Cu-contaminated waters.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
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