Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Colorado
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Colorado Project

Reproductive Consequences of Exposure to Exogenous Estrogens

July 2005 - June 2008


Participating Agencies

  • Colorado Division of Wildlife

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been detected in surface waters worldwide and can lead to developmental and reproductive disruption in exposed fishes. In the Great Plains, EDCs are impacting streams and rivers and may be causing adverse reproductive effects. To examine how estrogenic EDCs might affect reproductive success of plains fishes, we experimentally exposed male red shiners (Cyprinella lutrensis) to exogenous 17β-estradiol. We characterized the effects of estradiol on male gonadal histology and secondary sexual characteristics, determined whether exposure reduced reproductive success, and examined the effects of depuration. Adults were exposed to a mean concentration of 70 ngL-1 estradiol, a solvent control, or a water control for at least 83 d. Male exposure to estradiol resulted in elevated plasma vitellogenin concentrations, changes in spermatogenesis, reduced mating coloration and tubercles, altered mating behaviors, and reduced reproductive success with no viable progeny produced. Reproductive endpoints improved upon depuration (28 d). Exposure to estradiol had significant adverse effects on red shiners, indicating that wild populations may face developmental and reproductive difficulties if they are chronically exposed to estradiol.

Research Publications Publication Date
McGree, M.M., D.L. Winkelman, N.K. Vieira, and A. Vajda. 2009. Reproductive failure of the red shiner after acute exposure to an exogenous estrogen. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67:1730-1743. | Download | Publisher Website October 2010
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
McGree, M. 2008. Exposure to 17beta-estradiol alters reproduction of the adult red shiner (cyprinella lutrensis). Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Master of Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado May 2008