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Gen Comp Endocrinol 2010 Sep 01;1682:245-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.03.005.
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Aqueous leaf extracts display endocrine activities in vitro and disrupt sexual differentiation of male Xenopus laevis tadpoles in vivo.

Hermelink B , Urbatzka R , Wiegand C , Pflugmacher S , Lutz I , Kloas W .

The occurrence of natural substances acting as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) in the environment is to date poorly understood. Therefore, (anti)androgenic and (anti)estrogenic activities of three different aqueous leaf extracts (beech, reed and oak) were analyzed in vitro using yeast androgen and estrogen screen. The most potent extract was selected for in vivo exposure of Xenopus laevis tadpoles to analyze the potential effects on development and reproductive biology of amphibians. Tadpoles were exposed from stage 48 to stage 66 (end of metamorphosis) to aqueous oak leaf extracts covering natural occurring environmental concentrations of dissolved organic carbon. Gene expression analyses of selected genes of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad and of the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis as well as histological investigation of gonads and thyroid glands were used to evaluate endocrine disrupting effects on the reproductive biology and development. Female tadpoles remained unaffected by the exposure whereas males showed severe significant histological alterations of testes at the two highest oak leaf extract concentrations demonstrated by the occurrence of lacunae and oogonia. In addition, a significant elevation of luteinizing hormone beta mRNA expression with increasing extract concentration in male tadpoles indicates an involvement of hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis mainly via antiandrogenic activity. These results suggest that antiandrogenic EDC of oak leaf extract are responsible for inducing the observed effects in male tadpoles. The present study demonstrates for the first time that in surface waters, natural occurring oak leaf compounds at environmentally relevant concentrations display antiandrogenic activities and have considerable effects on the endocrine system of anurans affecting sexual differentiation of male tadpoles.

PubMed ID: 20226786
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ar cyp19a1 eef1a1 gnrh1 lhb srd5a1 srd5a2 star