Bioavailability and impacts of estrogenic compounds from suspended sediment on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

Müller, Anne-Katrin; Markert, Nele; Leser, Katharina; Kämpfer, David; Schiwy, Sabrina; Riegraf, Carolin; Buchinger, Sebastian; Gan, Lin; Abdallah, Ali T; Denecke, Bernd; Segner, Helmut; Brinkmann, Markus; Crawford, Sarah E; Hollert, Henner (2021). Bioavailability and impacts of estrogenic compounds from suspended sediment on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Aquatic toxicology, 231(105719), p. 105719. Elsevier 10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105719

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Numerous environmental pollutants have the potential to accumulate in sediments, and among them are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). It is well documented that water-borne exposure concentrations of some potent EDCs, more specifically estrogenic- active compounds (ECs), can impair the reproduction of fish. In contrast, little is known about the bioavailability and effects of sediment-associated ECs on fish. Particularly, when sediments are disturbed, e.g., during flood events, chemicals may be released from the sediment and become bioavailable. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate a) whether ECs from the sediment become bioavailable to fish when the sediment is suspended, and b) whether such exposure leads to endocrine responses in fish. Juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed over 21 days to constantly suspended sediments in the following treatments: i) a contaminated sediment from the Luppe River, representing a "hotspot" for EC accumulation, ii) a reference sediment (exhibiting only background contamination), iii) three dilutions, 2-, 4- and 8-fold of Luppe sediment diluted with the reference sediment, and iv) a water-only control. Measured estrogenic activity using in vitro bioassays as well as target analysis of nonylphenol and estrone via LC-MS/MS in sediment, water, fish plasma, as well as bile samples, confirmed that ECs became bioavailable from the sediment during suspension. ECs were dissolved in the water phase, as indicated by passive samplers, and were readily taken up by the exposed trout. An estrogenic response of fish to Luppe sediment was indicated by increased abundance of transcripts of typical estrogen responsive genes, i.e. vitelline envelope protein α in the liver and vitellogenin induction in the skin mucus. Altered gene expression profiles of trout in response to suspended sediment from the Luppe River suggest that in addition to ECs a number of other contaminants such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals were remobilized during suspension. The results of the present study demonstrated that sediments not only function as a sink for ECs but can turn into a significant source of pollution when sediments are resuspended as during flood-events. This highlights the need for sediment quality criteria considering bioavailability sediment-bound contaminants in context of flood events.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Segner, Helmut


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Pamela Schumacher

Date Deposited:

11 Feb 2021 08:59

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:45

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Endocrine disruption Estrogenic potential Flood events Oncorhynchus mykiss Sediment remobilization




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