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The synthetic gestagen Levonorgestrel impairs metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis by disruption of the thyroid system

Abstract : Synthetic gestagens, including levonorgestrel (LNG), are active compounds in contraceptives, and several studies report their occurrence in surface waters. However, information about endocrine-disrupting effects in nontarget organisms is scarce. The present study investigated effects of LNG exposure on thyroid hormone–dependent metamorphosis of Xenopus laevis. Premetamorphic X. laevis tadpoles at Nieuwkoop and Faber (NF) stage 48 were exposed in a flow-through culture system to four LNG concentrations (10211, 10210, 1029, and 1028M) over the period of metamorphosis. At NF 58 and 66, tadpoles were examined sex specifically. Developmental time and organismal responses were recorded and correlated with molecular and histopathological endpoints. Exposure to 1028M LNG caused an inhibition of metamorphosis resulting in developmental arrest at early climax stages as giant tadpoles or tailed frogs. In brain-pituitary tissue of NF 58 tadpoles, gene expression of thyroid-stimulating hormone (b-subunit; TSHb), TH receptor b (TRb), and deiodinase type 3 (D3) was not changed. Instead, prolactin (PRL) messenger RNA (mRNA) was significantly increased by 1029M LNG in females and by 1028M LNG in both sexes. In NF 66 tadpoles, mRNA levels of TSHb mRNA were significantly increased in the 1029 and 1028M LNG treatment groups indicating a hypothyroid state. No changes of TRb, D3, and PRL gene expression were detected. Histopathological evaluation of thyroid gland sections revealed no typical sign of hypothyroidism but rather an inactivated appearance of the thyroid. In conclusion, our data demonstrate for the first time a completely new aspect of thyroid system disruption caused by synthetic gestagens in developing amphibians.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 23, 2015 - 3:53:48 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:52:21 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01119621, version 1


Claudia Lorenz, Valeska Contardo-Jara, Stephan Pflugmacher, Claudia Wiegand, Gunnar Nützmann, et al.. The synthetic gestagen Levonorgestrel impairs metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis by disruption of the thyroid system. Toxicological Sciences, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011, 123 (1), pp.94-102. ⟨hal-01119621⟩



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