Environmental estrogens inhibit growth of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) by modulating the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor system

Andrea M. Hanson, Jeffrey D. Kittilson, Lincoln E. Martin, Mark A. Sheridan

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38 Scopus citations


Although environmental estrogens (EE) have been found to disrupt a wide variety of developmental and reproductive processes in vertebrates, there is a paucity of information concerning their effects on organismal growth, particularly postembryonic growth. In this study, we exposed juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to 17β-estradiol (E2) β-sitosterol (βS), or 4- n-nonylphenol (NP) to assess the effects of EE on overall organismal growth and on the growth hormone-insulin-like-growth factor (GH-IGF) system. EE treatment significantly reduced food conversion, body condition, and body growth. EE-inhibited growth resulted from alterations in peripheral elements of the GH-IGF system, which includes multiple GH receptors (GHRs), IGFs, and IGF receptors (IGFRs). In general, E2, βS, and NP reduced the expression of GHRs, IGFs, and IGFRs; however, the effects varied in an EE-, tissue-, element type-specific manner. For example, in liver, E2 was more efficacious than either βS, and NP in reducing GHR expression, and the effect of E2 was greater on GHR 1 than GHR2 mRNA. By contrast, in gill, all EEs affected GHR expression in a similar manner and there was no difference in the effect on GHR1 and GHR 2 mRNA. With regard to IGF expression, all EEs reduced hepatic IGF1 and IGF2 mRNA levels, whereas as in gill, only E2 and NP significantly reduced IGF1 and IGF2 expression. Lastly, E2 and NP reduced the expression of IGFR1A and IGFR1B mRNA expression similarly in gill and red and white muscle, whereas βS had no effect on expression of IGFR mRNAs. These findings indicate that EEs disrupt post-embryonic growth by reducing GH sensitivity, IGF production, and IGF sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StatePublished - Jan 5 2014


  • Environmental estrogens
  • Growth hormone
  • Insulin-like growth factor


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