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In ovo exposure to o,p -DDE affects sexual development but not sexual differentiation in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes).

  • Diana M Papoulias
  • Sergio A Villalobos
  • John Meadows
  • Douglas B Noltie
  • John P Giesy
  • Donald E Tillitt
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2003
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Despite being banned in many countries, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDD) continue to be found in fish tissues at concentrations of concern. Like o,p -DDT, o,p -DDE is estrogenic and is believed to exert its effects through binding to the estrogen receptor. The limited toxicologic data for o,p -DDE suggest that it decreases fecundity and fertility of fishes. We conducted an egg injection study using the d-rR strain of medaka and environmentally relevant concentrations of o,p -DDE to examine its effects on sexual differentiation and development. The gonads of exposed fish showed no evidence of sex reversal or intersex. However, other gonad abnormalities occurred in exposed individuals. Females exhibited few vitellogenic oocytes and increased atresia. Male testes appeared morphologically normal but were very small. Gonadosomatic index values for both sexes were lower for exposed fish. Our observations of abnormal female and very small male gonads after in ovo o,p -DDE exposure may be indicative of effects on early endocrine processes important for normal ovarian and testicular development.

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