Concentration-dependent effects of 17β-estradiol and bisphenol A on lipid deposition, inflammation and antioxidant response in male zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Chemosphere. 2019 Dec;237:124422. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.124422. Epub 2019 Jul 22.


Environmental estrogenic compounds are important pollutants, which are widely distributed in natural water bodies. They produce various adverse effects on fish, but their concentration-dependent toxicities in fish metabolism and health are not fully understood. This study investigated the effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) and bisphenol A (BPA) at low and high concentrations on lipid deposition, inflammation and antioxidant response in male zebrafish. We measured fish growth parameters, gonad development, lipid contents and the activities of inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes, as well as their mRNA expressions. All E2 and BPA concentrations used increased body weight, damaged gonad structure and induced feminization in male zebrafish. The exposure of zebrafish to E2 and BPA promoted lipid accumulation by increasing total fat, liver triglycerides and free fatty acid contents, and also upregulated lipogenic genes expression, although they decreased total cholesterol content. Notably, zebrafish exposed to low concentrations of E2 (200 ng/L) and BPA (100 μg/L) had higher lipid synthesis and deposition compared to high concentrations (2000 ng/L and 2000 μg/L, respectively). However, the high concentrations of E2 and BPA increased inflammation and antioxidant response. Furthermore, BPA caused greater damage to fish gonad development and more severe lipid peroxidation compared to E2. Overall, the results suggest that the toxic effects of E2 and BPA on zebrafish are concentration-dependent such that, the relative low concentrations used induced lipid deposition, whereas the high ones caused adverse effects on inflammation and antioxidant response.

Keywords: Antioxidant response; Concentration-dependent toxicity; Environmental estrogenic compounds; Inflammation; Lipid deposition; Zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / metabolism
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Gonads / drug effects
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Sex Differentiation
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Estrogens
  • Phenols
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Estradiol
  • bisphenol A