Endocrine effects of contaminated sediments on the freshwater snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum in vivo and in the cell bioassays in vitro

Aquat Toxicol. 2008 Sep 17;89(3):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2008.06.013. Epub 2008 Jul 3.


Lake Pilnok located in the black coal-mining region Ostrava-Karvina, Czech Republic, contains sediments highly contaminated with powdered waste coal. Moreover, population of the endangered species of narrow-clawed crayfish Pontastacus leptodactylus with high proportion of intersex individuals (18%) was observed at this site. These findings motivated our work that aimed to evaluate contamination, endocrine disruptive potency using in vitro assays and in vivo effects of contaminated sediments on reproduction of sediment-dwelling invertebrates. Chemical analyses revealed low concentrations of persistent chlorinated compounds and heavy metals but concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were high (sum of 16 PAHs 10 microg/g dw). Organic extracts from sediments caused significant in vitro AhR-mediated activity in the bioassay with H4IIE-luc cells, estrogenicity in MVLN cells and anti-androgenicity in recombinant yeast assay, and these effects could be attributed to non-persistent compounds derived from the waste coal. We have also observed significant in vivo effects of the sediments in laboratory experiments with the Prosobranchian euryhaline mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Sediments from Lake Pilnok as well as organic extracts of the sediments (externally added to the control sediment) significantly affected fecundity during 8 weeks of exposure. The effects were stimulations of fecundity at lower concentrations at the beginning of the experiment followed by inhibitions of fecundity and general toxicity. Our study indicates presence of chemicals that affected endocrine balance in invertebrates, and emphasizes the need for integrated approaches combining in vitro and in vivo bioassays with identification of chemicals to elucidate ecotoxicogical impacts of contaminated sediment samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Line
  • Endocrine Disruptors / chemistry
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Metals, Heavy / chemistry
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Snails / drug effects*
  • Snails / metabolism


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Receptors, Estrogen