Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 65-68

First online:

The Effect of Creosote on Vitellogenin Production in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • J. P. SherryAffiliated withEnvironment Canada, National Water Research Institute Email author 
  • , J. J. WhyteAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of WaterlooU.S. Geological Survey, AScI Corporation, c/o Biochemistry and Physiology Branch, Columbia Environmental Research Center
  • , N. A. KarrowAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Waterloo
  • , A. GambleAffiliated withBiology Department, University of Guelph
  • , H. J. BoermanAffiliated withDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph
  • , N. C. BolAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Waterloo
  • , D. G. DixonAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Waterloo
  • , K. R. SolomonAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology and Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph

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As part of a broader investigation into the effects of creosote treatments on the aquatic biota in pond microcosms, we examined the possible implications for vitellogenin (Vtg) production in Oncorhynchus mykiss [rainbow trout (RT)]. Vtg is the precursor of egg yolk protein and has emerged as a useful biomarker of exposure to estrogenic substances. Our a priori intent was to assess the ability of the creosote treatments (nominal cresoste concentrations were 0, 3, and 10 μl/L immediately after the last subsurface addition) to induce estrogenic responses in RT. The data showed no evidence of an estrogenic response in the treated fish. During the course of the experiment, however, the fish matured and began to produce Vtg, probably in response to endogenous estrogen. A posteriori analysis of the Vtg data from the maturing fish showed that after 28 days, the plasma Vtg concentrations were about 15-fold lower in fish from the creosote-treated microcosms compared with fish from the reference microcosm. Although the experiment design does not permit mechanistic insights, our observation suggests that exposure of female fish to PAH mixtures such as creosote can impair the production of Vtg with possible health implications for embryos and larvae.