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Aquat Toxicol 2023 Jul 01;260:106577. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2023.106577.
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Bigger and bolder: Widespread agricultural pollutant 17β-trenbolone increases growth and alters behaviour in tadpoles (Litoria ewingii).

Orford JT , Tan H , Tingley R , Alton LA , Wong BBM , Martin JM .

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals-compounds that directly interfere with the endocrine system of exposed animals-are insidious environmental pollutants that can disrupt hormone function, even at very low concentrations. The dramatic impacts that some endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have on the reproductive development of wildlife are well documented. However, the potential of endocrine-disrupting chemicals to disrupt animal behaviour has received far less attention, despite the important links between behavioural processes and population-level fitness. Accordingly, we investigated the impacts of 14 and 21-day exposure to two environmentally realistic levels of 17β-trenbolone (4.6 and 11.2 ng/L), a potent endocrine-disrupting steroid and agricultural pollutant, on growth and behaviour in tadpoles of an anuran amphibian, the southern brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii). We found that 17β-trenbolone altered morphology, baseline activity and responses to a predatory threat, but did not affect anxiety-like behaviours in a scototaxis assay. Specifically, we found that tadpoles exposed to our high-17β-trenbolone treatment were significantly longer and heavier at 14 and 21 days. We also found that tadpoles exposed to 17β-trenbolone showed higher levels of baseline activity, and significantly reduced their activity following a simulated predator strike. These results provide insights into the wider repercussions of agricultural pollutants on key developmental and behavioural traits in aquatic species, and demonstrate the importance of behavioural studies in the ecotoxicological field.

PubMed ID: 37207487
Article link: Aquat Toxicol

GO keywords: endocrine signaling

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