Sexually mature goldfish (Carassius auratus) of both sexes were exposed to two doses (100 and 1000 mug/l) of the widely used herbicide atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isolropylamino-s-triazine) for a period of 21 days and effects on the concentrations of gonad and plasma sex steroids (testosterone (T), 17beta-estradiol (E2) and 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT)), plasma vitellogenin (VTG) and gonad histo-morphology assessed. Atrazine did not show any obvious estrogenic effect in males, as determined by a lack of vitellogenin induction. There were, however, effects of atrazine on plasma androgen concentrations (androgen dynamics) and tissue (plasma and gonad) estrogen concentrations in male goldfish; exposure to 1000 mug/l atrazine induced suppression in both testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone, and resulted in elevated 17beta-estradiol, after 21 day of exposure. Further, these suppressive effects on plasma androgens and the induction in estrogen were dose- and time-related. The highest atrazine exposure dose induced structural disruption in the testis and both 100 and 1000 mug/l induced elevated levels of atresia in ovaries. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.