Screening of multiple hormonal activities in water and sediment from the river Nile, Egypt, using in vitro bioassay and gonadal histology

  • Alaa G. M. OsmanEmail author
  • Khaled Y. AbouelFadl
  • Angela Krüger
  • Werner Kloas


In Egypt, until yet no records are available regarding possible multiple hormonal activities in the aquatic systems and especially in the river Nile. In this paper, in vitro yeast estrogen screen (YES) and yeast androgen screen (YAS) were used to assess (for the first time) the multiple hormonal activities in surface waters and sediments of the river Nile. This study aimed to determine whether river Nile water can cause changes in gonadal histology of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus niloticus). All water samples exhibited extremely low levels of estrogenicity. Estrogenicity was nearly not detected in any of the sediment samples. Unlike the estrogenicity, significant androgenic activities were recorded in the water and sediment samples along the course of the river Nile. The present study reports for the first time quantification anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic activities with high levels in both water and sediment of the river Nile. The greatest anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic activities were observed in samples from downstream river Nile. These results indicated that the anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic activities along the Nile course were great and the pollution of the sites at downstream was more serious than the upstream sites due to industrial and anthropogenic activities at these sites. Good correlations were observed among some hormonal activities, suggesting coexistence of these contaminants in the environmental matrices. There were no signs of sexual disruption in any of the gonads analyzed from either male or female Nile tilapia, demonstrating that no hormonal activity present along the Nile course was sufficient to induce adverse effects on reproductive development. Further investigation is necessary to identify the compounds responsible for the hormonal activities in the river Nile and to examine effects of very low levels of hormonally active compounds on gonadal histology, as well as in the development of more sensitive biomarkers.


Multiple hormonal activities YES YAS River Nile Nile tilapia Gonadal histology 



This work was funded by Science and Technology development fund, Egypt (Project ID 5406). The first author is grateful for the continuous support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alaa G. M. Osman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Khaled Y. AbouelFadl
    • 3
  • Angela Krüger
    • 4
  • Werner Kloas
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceAl-Azhar University (Assiut Branch)AssiutEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Ecophysiology and AquacultureLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries BiologyNational Institute of Oceanography and FisheriesHurghadaEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Chemical Analytics and BiogeochemistryLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Life SciencesHumboldt University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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