Endocrine-disrupting effect of the ultraviolet filter benzophenone-3 in zebrafish, Danio rerio

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2015 Dec;34(12):2833-40. doi: 10.1002/etc.3129. Epub 2015 Oct 19.


The chemical ultraviolet (UV) filter benzophenone-3 (BP-3) is suspected to be an endocrine disruptor based on results from in vitro and in vivo testing. However, studies including endpoints of endocrine adversity are lacking. The present study investigated the potential endocrine-disrupting effects of BP-3 in zebrafish (Danio rerio) in the Fish Sexual Development Test (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development TG 234) and a 12-d adult male zebrafish study. In TG 234, exposure from 0 d to 60 d posthatch caused a monotone dose-dependent skewing of the phenotypic sex ratio toward fewer males and more female zebrafish (no observed effect concentration [NOEC]: 191 μg/L, lowest observed effect concentration [LOEC]: 388 μg/L). Besides, gonad maturation was affected in both female fish (NOEC 191 μg/L, LOEC 388 μg/L) and male fish (NOEC 388 μg/L, LOEC 470 μg/L). Exposure to BP-3 did not affect the vitellogenin concentration in TG 234. After 12 d exposure of adult male zebrafish, a slight yet significant increase in the vitellogenin concentration was observed at 268 μg/L but not at 63 μg/L and 437 μg/L BP-3. Skewing of the sex ratio is a marker of an endocrine-mediated mechanism as well as a marker of adversity, and therefore the conclusion of the present study is that BP-3 is an endocrine-disrupting chemical in accordance with the World Health Organization's definition.

Keywords: Aquatic toxicology; Endocrine disruptors; Sex ratio; UV filters; Vitellogenin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzophenones / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Endocrine System / drug effects
  • Female
  • Male
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Sex Differentiation / drug effects
  • Sex Ratio
  • Sexual Development / drug effects*
  • Sunscreening Agents / toxicity*
  • Vitellogenins / metabolism
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish / growth & development*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Benzophenones
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Vitellogenins
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • oxybenzone