Environmental toxicology and chemistry

Exposure to the pesticide linuron affects androgen-dependent gene expression in the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

PMID 22514014


Previous research demonstrated that exposure to exogenous androgens and effluents with androgenic activity can induce spiggin mRNA production in the kidney of the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). In the present study, we determine whether a short-term exposure to a known antiandrogenic pesticide, linuron (LN), suppresses spiggin mRNA in male stickleback and in androgenized female stickleback. Primers were designed from previously characterized sequences for each androgen receptor (AR) isoform in stickleback, arα and arβ, to assess whether these receptors are differentially regulated by androgen or antiandrogen exposure. Fish were exposed for 72 h to one of four treatments: control, LN (250 µg/L), 17α-methyltestosterone (MT, 500 ng/L), and an LN-MT mixture at those same concentrations. There was no effect of LN on spiggin and arβ mRNA levels in male kidney, while levels of arα were significantly increased twofold. Exposure to LN significantly inhibited MT-induced spiggin RNA production in female kidney with no effect on expression of arα and arβ. The present study is the first to demonstrate the antiandrogenic effect of LN at the transcript level and to examine androgenic/antiandrogenic responsiveness of the two ARs in the stickleback. From the present study, it was determined that measurement of spiggin RNA is a reliable and sensitive screening tool for the detection of both androgenic and antiandrogenic compounds.