Estrogenic contaminants in the aquatic environment are associated with feminisation of male fish, however their effects on some invertebrate species, such as bivalve molluscs, have yet to be characterised. Gametogenesis represents a critical step in the reproductive process and is subjected to hormonal control by serotonin (5-HT), prostaglandins (synthesised by cyclooxygenases-COX) and steroids such as 17β-estradiol (E2). Here, we examine the responses of . 5-HT receptor and . COX mRNA expression in mussels, . Mytilus edulis, exposed to estrogenic compounds during different stages of their reproductive cycle.In mature mussels, . 5-HT receptor mRNA expression decreased following E2 exposure. The opposite trend was observed in mussels at early gametogenesis stages. . COX mRNA expression levels at both stages were generally decreased by E2 exposure. Mussels at early gametogenesis stages were also exposed to ethynylestradiol (EE2) and estradiol benzoate (EB) and a significant increase in . 5-HT receptor mRNA expression was observed with both xeno-estrogens. . COX expression levels were increased with EB exposure but no significant effects were found with EE2 exposure.These results show that the natural estrogen, E2, as well as the synthetic estrogen, EE2, induce alterations, dependent on reproductive stage, in the mRNA expression levels of . 5-HT receptor and/or . COX in the marine bivalve . M. edulis.
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