Triclosan Lacks Anti-Estrogenic Effects in Zebrafish Cells but Modulates Estrogen Response in Zebrafish Embryos

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Apr 12;19(4):1175. doi: 10.3390/ijms19041175.


Triclosan (TCS), an antimicrobial agent widely found in the aquatic environment, is suspected to act as an endocrine disrupting compound, however mechanistic information is lacking in regards to aquatic species. This study assessed the ability of TCS to interfere with estrogen receptor (ER) transcriptional activity, in zebrafish-specific in vitro and in vivo reporter gene assays. We report that TCS exhibits a lack of either agonistic or antagonistic effects on a panel of ER-expressing zebrafish (ZELH-zfERα and -zfERβ) and human (MELN) cell lines. At the organism level, TCS at concentrations of up to 0.3 µM had no effect on ER-regulated brain aromatase gene expression in transgenic cyp19a1b-GFP zebrafish embryos. At a concentration of 1 µM, TCS interfered with the E2 response in an ambivalent manner by potentializing a low E2 response (0.625 nM), but decreasing a high E2 response (10 nM). Altogether, our study suggests that while modulation of ER-regulated genes by TCS may occur in zebrafish, it does so irrespective of a direct binding and activation of zfERs.

Keywords: brain aromatase; estrogen receptor; in vitro; in vivo; triclosan; zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cell Line
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Triclosan / pharmacology*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / metabolism
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Triclosan
  • Estradiol