Dr Wen-Jun Shi, a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Guang-Guo Ying’s group of SCNU Environmental Research Institute (SERI), recently published a research article titled “Dydrogesterone Causes Male Bias and Accelerates Sperm Maturation in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)” in Environmental Science & Technology. It is found for the first time that the long term exposure to the synthetic progestin dydrogesterone (DDG) resulted in male-biased zebrafish populations.
Dydrogesterone is one of the commonly used synthetic progestins in contraception and therapy of menstrual disorders and endometriosis in human and animals. DDG has been detected in the effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and receiving waters. In general, DDG is purposed to resemble progesterone mainly in its progestogenic activity, while little is known about its potential androgenic effects.
Shi et al. studied the effects of DDG on sex differentiation and gonadal development by using microarray analysis, quantitative real-time PCR assay and histological analysis. The results showed that after 120 days of exposure to 329 ng L−1 DDG, 98% of the fish were males, and DDG accelerated sperm maturation in zebrafish. Meanwhile, this research investigated the underlying mechanisms for the effects of DDG on sperm maturation in zebrafish. This study found that over expression of dmrt1 mRNA suppressed the transcription of cyp19a1a which activated the apoptosis pathway, thereby resulting in enhanced oocyte apoptosis and accelerating the differentiation of the juvenile ovary into testis in zebrafish. The findings demonstrate that DDG in the aquatic environment has androgenic effects in zebrafish, and could pose potential high ecological risks to fish populations.
The published article is listed as follows:
Shi, W. J.; Jiang, Y. X.; Huang, G. Y.; Zhao, J. L.; Zhang, J. N.; Liu, Y. S.; Xie L.T.; Ying, G. G. Dydrogesterone causes male bias and accelerates sperm maturation in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02556.