Stimulatory effects of selected PAHs on testosterone production in goldfish and rainbow trout and possible mechanisms of action
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This study investigates the effects of selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on testicular function in fish. In vitro incubations of goldfish testis tissue exposed to three selected PAHs [naphthalene, beta-naphthoflavone (betaNF), or retene] resulted in biphasic potentiation of gonadotropin (GtH)-stimulated testosterone (T) production, with no effect on basal levels. In vivo exposure of goldfish to betaNF also resulted in biphasic increases in plasma T levels. Experiments with rainbow trout revealed increased levels of in vitro T production when exposed to naphthalene, albeit only at higher concentrations than the responses observed in goldfish. Studies of possible sites of action at the level of the goldfish testis showed that betaNF exerted its most potent action when T production was initiated by a ligand such as GtH or prostaglandin E(2). Within the steroidogenic pathway, betaNF potentiation of GtH-stimulated T production may be partially mediated by increases in cAMP production, but appear to be independent of cytosolic calcium content. These studies demonstrate that PAHs may function as disruptors of reproductive endocrine function in teleosts through the unexpected effect of enhancing testicular steroidogenesis.
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