Appropriateness of Largemouth Bass as a Model Species for Detection of Endocrine Dissruption
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Intersex in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) has been correlated with regional anthropogenic activity, but has not been causally linked to environmental factors. Four groups of hatchery-reared largemouth bass (LMB) and fathead minnows (FHM) of varying ages and sex were exposed to aqueous poultry litter mixtures, 17β- estradiol (E2), and controls. Water samples were analyzed for estrogens through liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and estrogenicity through the bioluminescent yeast estrogen screen assay. Fish plasma was analyzed for the egg yolk protein vitellogenin (Vtg) using enzyme–linked immunosorbent assay and gonad tissue was examined histologically for enumeration of testicular oocytes (TO). Water chemistry revealed typical E2 conversion to Estrone with subsequent decay over the exposure periods. A modest prevalence of TO (9.4%) was detected with no apparent treatment effect. While significant Vtg induction was found in E2 exposed FHM, minimal Vtg induction was found in male LMB. Despite field findings of intersex in male LMB, this species may be poorly suited for laboratory investigations into endocrine disruption.