Gemfibrozil and carbamazepine decrease steroid production in zebrafish testes ( Danio rerio )
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Gemfibrozil (GEM) and carbamazepine (CBZ) are two environmentally relevant pharmaceuticals and chronic exposure of fish to these compounds has decreased androgen levels and fish reproduction in laboratory studies. The main focus of this study was to examine the effects of GEM and CBZ on testicular steroid production, using zebrafish as a model species. Chronic water borne exposures of adult zebrafish to 10 μg/L of GEM and CBZ were conducted and the dosing was confirmed by chemical analysis of water as 17.5 ± 1.78 and 11.2 ± 1.08 μg/L respectively. A 67 day exposure led to reduced reproductive output and lowered whole body, plasma, and testicular 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT). Testicular production of 11-KT was examined post exposure (42 days) using ex vivo cultures to determine basal and stimulated steroid production. The goal was to ascertain the step impaired in the steroidogenic pathway by each compound. Ex vivo 11-KT production in testes from males chronically exposed to GEM and CBZ was lower than that from unexposed males. Although hCG, 25-OH cholesterol, and pregnenolone stimulation increased 11-KT production in all treatment groups over basal levels, hCG stimulated 11-KT production remained significantly less in testes from exposed males compared to controls. 25-OH cholesterol and pregnenolone stimulated 11-KT production was similar between GEM and control groups but the CBZ group had lower 11-KT production than controls with both stimulants. We therefore propose that chronic GEM and CBZ exposure can reduce production of 11-KT in testes through direct effects independent of mediation through HPG axis. The biochemical processes for steroid production appear un-impacted by GEM exposure; while CBZ exposure may influence steroidogenic enzyme expression or function.
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