John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Evaluation of potential mechanisms of atrazine‐induced reproductive impairment in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes)

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Atrazine has been implicated in reproductive dysfunction of exposed organisms, and previous studies documented decreased egg production in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) and fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) during 30 to 38 dexposures to 0.5, 5, and 50 µg/L atrazine. Here we sought to evaluate possible mechanisms underlying the reduction in egg production. Gene expression in steroidogenesis pathways and the hypothalamus‐pituitary‐gonad axis of male and female fish was measured. Atrazine did not significantly induce gonad aromatase (cyp19a1a) expression. An atrazine‐induced shift in the number of females in an active reproductive state was observed. Expression of the egg maturation genes vitellogenin 1 (vtg1) and zona pellucida glycoprotein 3.1 (zp3.1) in medaka females were correlated and had bimodal distributions. In both species, females with low vtg1 or zp3.1 expression also had low expression of steroidogenesis genes in the gonad, estrogen receptor in the liver, and gonadotropins in the brain. In the medaka, the number of females per tank that had high expression of zp3.1 was significantly correlated with egg production per tank. The number of medaka females with low expression of zp3.1 increased significantly with atrazine exposure. Thus, the decline in egg production observed in response to atrazine exposure may be the result of a coordinated down‐regulation of genes required for reproduction in a subset of females. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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