2003 Volume 69 Issue 3 Pages 555-562
Because blood vitellogenin (Vg) has been considered a biomarker for environmental estrogens, the basal levels of Vg and 17β-estradiol (E2) were determined in male Japanese whiting reared under natural conditions. Serum levels of Vg and E2 were measured and gonadal development was assessed by gonadosomatic index (GSI) and histological observation in 8-10 male fish at monthly intervals throughout the annual reproductive cycle. Serum E2 was <60 pg/mL throughout the study period. In contrast, serum Vg exhibited seasonal changes: serum levels of Vg gradually increased from April to May (mean 63±13 ng/mL and 124±48 ng/mL in April and May, respectively), and then reached a peak value (mean 352±68 ng/mL) in June. Thereafter, serum Vg gradually decreased, reaching undetectable levels (<50 ng/mL) in October. Serum levels of Vg tended to increase in the male fish in which the GSI was >1%. Histological observation revealed that testes in such male fish were in active spermatogenesis and then all of the testes of male fish in which serum Vg decreased to ND levels were regressed. These results suggest that Vg productive potency (sensitivity to estrogens) may increase in the spermatogenic stage, resulting in production of Vg in response to very low levels of natural or xenobiotic estrogens.
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