The organophosphorous pesticide, fenitrothion, acts as an anti-androgen and alters reproductive behavior of the male three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus
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- Sebire, M., Scott, A.P., Tyler, C.R. et al. Ecotoxicology (2009) 18: 122. doi:10.1007/s10646-008-0265-2
Fenitrothion (FN) is a widely used organophosphorous pesticide that has structural similarities with the clinical anti-androgen flutamide. The potential for FN to act as an anti-androgen (at exposures of 1, 50, and 200 μg FN/l over a 26-day period) was assessed in male three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, by measuring kidney spiggin concentration, nest-building, and courtship behavior. Spiggin is the glue protein that male sticklebacks use to build their nests and is directly controlled by androgens. FN exposure significantly reduced spiggin production as well as nest-building activity. It also adversely affected courtship—especially the ‘zigzag dance’ and biting behavior of the males. FN thus appears to have anti-androgenic effects on both the physiology and behavior of the male stickleback.