Determining the sensitive developmental stages of intersex induction in medaka (Oryzias latipes) exposed to 17β-estradiol or testosterone

C. S. Koger, Swee J Teh, D. E. Hinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Certain environmentally persistent compounds can adversely affect reproduction by acting as steroid hormone agonists or antagonists. The goal of the present study was to determine the developmental stage most susceptible to exogenous hormone (estradiol and testosterone) exposure using a small teleost model. In the first (pilot study) of two experiments, medaka (Oryzias latipes), at varying developmental stages, were bath-exposed to 5 μg/l 17β-estradiol for 24 h. At 5 months of age, fecundity, fertility and embryo and larval viability (reproductive success) were investigated in control and exposed groups. Fish at 1, 1.5, 2 and 5.5 months of age were also sampled, processed and examined histologically for gonadal alteration. No significant differences in mortality, gonadal morphology, body weight, sex-ratio or time to maturity were seen between control and exposed fish. At 5 months, however, when exposure groups were compared to controls, significant differences were seen in reproductive success and viability of offspring. A second experiment exposed embryo stage 10, and 1-, 7- and 21-day-old larvae for 6 days to 15 μg/l 17β-estradiol or 100 μg/l testosterone. No significant differences were seen at 5 months in mortality, body weight, or time to sexual maturity. However, sex-ratios were significantly biased toward female in the stage 10, 1- and 7-day post-hatch estradiol exposure groups. No significant changes in sex-ratio were associated with testosterone exposure at any developmental stage. Further, intersex gonads were observed in fish from all groups exposed to 15 μg/l estradiol. Only those fish exposed as newly hatched fry or at 1 week post-hatch displayed intersex gonads following 100 μg/l testosterone exposure. Data from these experiments show that newly hatched fry are that life stage most sensitive to hormone exposure and the most appropriate to use in determining effects of known endocrine-disrupting compounds. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number1-5
StatePublished - 2000


  • 17β-Estradiol
  • Induction
  • Intersex
  • Medaka
  • Oryzias latipes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Science(all)


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