Effects of low concentrations of the antiprogestin mifepristone (RU486) in adults and embryos of zebrafish (Danio rerio): 1. Reproductive and early developmental effects

Nancy Blüthgen, Sara Castiglioni, John P. Sumpter, Karl Fent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Effects of synthetic progestins have recently been reported in fish, but potential effects of the synthetic antiprogestin mifepristone (MIF), also called RU486, have not been studied. The present study provides first insights into reproductive effects of MIF in zebrafish in comparison to the progesterone receptor agonist, progesterone (P4). We carried out a reproductive study using breeding groups of adult zebrafish. After a 14 day pre-exposure, zebrafish were exposed for 21 days to 5, 39, 77. ng/L MIF, 25. ng/L P4 and water and solvent controls. In addition, embryos originating from exposed adult fish were continuously exposed to 3, 15, 26. ng/L MIF, and 254. ng/L P4, respectively, for 96. h post fertilization. We found a significant U-shaped increase in egg production after exposure to 5 and 77. ng/L MIF, but no effects at 25. ng/L P4. Levels of sex steroid hormones in blood plasma of adult males (11-ketotestosterone) and females (17β-estradiol) were not altered. In addition to an increase of mature vitellogenic oocytes in ovaries of females exposed to MIF and P4, we observed several histopathological changes in ovaries, including post-ovulatory follicles, atretic follicles and proteinaceous fluid. Male gonads showed no or less alterations and no histopathological effects. Fertility of eggs and hatching success of embryos (F1 generation) was not affected at 3-26. ng/L MIF and 254. ng/L P4, respectively. The data lead to the conclusion that trace quantities of MIF affect reproduction of zebrafish and ovaries of female zebrafish. Effects on transcriptional changes in adult and embryonic zebrafish of this study in comparison to in vitro effects are reported in the associated report (Blüthgen et al., 2013a).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Volume144-145
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2013

Keywords

  • Antiprogestin
  • Mifepristone
  • Progesterone
  • Reproductive effects
  • RU486

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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