This study reports the use of the recently developed EASZY assay that uses transgenic cyp19a1b-GFP zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos to assess in vivo estrogenic activity of 33 surface (SW) and waste water (WW) samples collected across Europe that were previously well-characterized for estrogen hormones and in vitro estrogenic activity. We showed that 18 out of the 33 SW and WW samples induced estrogenic responses in the EASZY assay leading to a significant and concentration-dependent up-regulation of the ER-regulated cyp19a1b gene expression in the developing brain. The in vivo 17β-estradiol-equivalents (EEQs) were highly correlated with, both, the chemical analytical risk quotient (RQ) based on steroidal estrogen concentrations and EEQs reported from five different in vitro reporter gene assays. Regression analyses between the vitro and in vivo effect concentrations allowed us to determine an optimal cut-off value for each in vitro assay, above which in vivo responses were observed. These in vitro assay-specific effect-based trigger values (EBTs), ranging from 0.28 to 0.58 ng EEQ/L define the sensitivity and specificity of the individual in vitro assays for predicting a risk associated with substances acting through the same mode of action in water samples. Altogether, this study demonstrates the toxicological relevance of in vitro-based assessment of estrogenic activity and recommends the use of such in vitro/in vivo comparative approach to refine and validate EBTs for mechanism-based bioassays.
- Effect-based trigger value
- Estrogen monitoring
- In vitro and in vivo bioassays
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)