Environmental Toxicology


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of Bisphenol A in endocrinal disruption of fresh water fisheries    


Submitted To:

Abdul Qadir


                                                         Submitted By:

                                            Sehrish Shahzadi

Roll no:   25

Semester  1st

                                                                                Session: 2017-2019

Environmental Science

                                 College of
Earth and Environmental Science

                                              University Of The Punjab




Bisphenol A enter in aquatic environments through discharged off effluents,
principally from industrial plants, commercial areas and have great influence
on variety of living organisms which also live in water, including fish. It has
been confirmed that changes in physiological behavior of fisheries occur as a
result of exposure of BPA, mostly impacts occur on sexual development and
function. In few years, many researches have been done which shown that BPA has
great influence on fresh water fishes which result in behavioral changes of individuals
as well as populations. Critical analysis of possible impacts of BPA on fresh
water fisheries is also presented in this article review. However, there are
many technical and interpretation challenges to predict the role of BPA in
endocrinal disruption and there is great debatable point that how impacts of
BPA which have been studied under laboratory conditions can resemble the
impacts which are happening in natural environment.


Water is fundamental entity for all living
organisms to live. This is a duty of water suppliers to provide good drinking
quality of water to all living beings. Drinking water become hazardous to
environment when there is introduction of toxic pollutants like BPA and other
chemicals which enter in aquatic environment due to human negligence and
ultimately toxic water cause serious impacts on water based life like fisheries
and other living organisms(Padhye et
al., 2014).

 Bisphenol A
is one of endocrine disrupting chemicals which is used all over world in
different plastic products like baby bottles, CDs, glasses, sports equipments
and cosmetics etc. BPA is also used in epoxy resins to coating of cans of food
and beverages (Vandenberg et al.,
2010). Fishes
are most vulnerable living organism when introduce to pollutants like BPA
because contaminated water is directly in contact with fish organs like gills,
skin can readily absorbed BPA due to continuous exposure with BPA. BPA can also
enter in fish body through diet and drinking (gut). (Kwong et  al., 2008. In some cases,
BPA also found in developing eggs which ultimately has influence on embryo and
can retard the development of embryo (Daley et
al., 2009). Exposure of pollutants 
like BPA and other EDCs can also cause variations in behavior of fishes
in which includes reduction the  capacity
for  avoidance from predators, ability of
fresh water fisheries by which they detect 
chemical  alarm is reduced,
behavior related to food is also changed (Scott and  Sloman, 

 In this paper, I present a review of the existing
information to identify the current scope of information available regarding
effects of Bisphenol A in endocrine disruption for fresh water fish species.
This review critically analyses the information which determine the possible effects
of BPA, on behavioral changes in fish, mainly on behaviors related to sex and
reproduction. The goal of this review is to explain the role of BPA in
endocrinal disruption of fishes live in freshwater and estuarine fish, in which
short-term (i.e., physiology and behavior) and long-term effects (trans
generational) are explained.

Mechanisms of Action of BPA as an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical:

The main concept related to Bisphenol A action is
that it starts its action when BPA is attach to estrogen receptors (ERs) in fisheries.
But thyroid hormones is approximately sow resemblance with BPA because both
have 2 benzoic rings. Due to structural similarity with thyroid hormone, BPA act
as a TH antagonist or agonist which result in disturbance of the thyroid system
and ultimately disturbance of whole body functions (Jung et al., 2007). For collection of data, models of fish metamorphosis
are mainly used. Iwamuro et al.,
(2006) conduct experiments on larva of fish and found that in vivo, induction
of thyroid hormone metamorphosis is blocked by BPA, as well as in vitro tail
cell culture, tail resorption is induced by throid hormones (THS).In fury, the release
of TSH and prolactin are not regulated by estradiol. This confirms that ER
binding is not related to the release of the pituitary hormones due to BPA. In
tail cell culture, the appearance of genes related to metamorphosis is reduced
by BPA, which reinforce the hypothesis that effects of BPA are induced by
directly binding to thyroid hormone receptors rather than estrogen receptors
(ERs)(Zoeller, 2005).


BPA as EDC and Its biological impacts:

an organism, natural body hormones are blocked by BPA.Examinational efforts
show that at comparatively high ratio (21 µg/l) of BPA in streams and rivers
cause serious biological effects in fisheries. There are few examples of
fisheries which are affected at different concentration of BPA i.e. carp 100 µg/
l; fathead minnow 160 µg/l, cod 50 µg/l, medaka 1000 µg /l; rainbow trout 500
µg/ l Lindholst et al. 2001).. In vivo studies have shown that many other biological
processes are influenced by BPA. Androgen and estrogen synthesis and metabolism
disorders are seriously affected by exposure of BPA.

which are induces in the ratio between estrogens and androgens have biological
consequences which are diverse in nature which may comprise intersex of species
and alteration of species are controlled by hormones. Different experiments
provide evidence that different species are sensitive at different
concentration of BPA. For example, when Atlantic cod and turbot both are
exposed to 59 µg BPA/l, then cod was more vulnerable than turbot because ZRP
was more quickly induced in the cod than in turbot which can interfere with
fertility (Larsen et al., 2006).

Endocrinal disruption evidence
in wild fish

of endocrinal system occur in both undomesticated and natural populations.
Cases of alteration of sex in male fish, include male fish species are capable
to produce female proteins in their bodies– vitellogenin (VTG), which cause
changes in male bodies and ultimately oocytes occur in male reproductive
system. (Lange et al.,  2011)

USA experiments were conducted on mosquitofish and results showed that traits
which are responsible for identification of male species are also developed in
female fish species when there is exposure of Bisphenol A in surrounding
environment. (Parks et al., 2001),
Similarly, in fathead minnows species, female sex characteristics also
developed in male species when species are continuously in contact with
exposure of BPA(Ankley et al., 2003).
Effects of BPA on fresh water fish populations still not clearly explained, while
many studies have been conducted on his issue

Effects of BPA (estrogens)
in fish:

properties of BPA were first reported in 1936. Investigations of impacts of
Bisphenol A conducted in a wide-ranging series of laboratory sudies. Danio rerio,
Oryzias latipes, fathead minnow are mostly used model species fisheries which
are used to investigate the impacts of BPA (Ankley and Johnson, 2004). Reproductive
organs are mostly affected by estrogens. Estrogens can change the sex ratio
towards females, reduce or prevent spermatogenesis and delay   maturation of the ovaries at higher
concentration of BPA(Weber et al.,  2003).

disruptor chemicals (BPA) can cause increasing the size of sex organ and speed
up spermatogenesis. Changes in ovioporosis, skew sex ratio towards males and lessening
ovary size are adverse effects of BPA in females (Seki et al., 2005). Some of the effects of BPA could lessen the
production of offspring which are documented through controlled laboratory
studies and therefore have a population significance. Effects on reproductive
development and fertility has been revealed due to exposure of environmental

endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA are introduce in fisheries habitat,
the possible adverse effects of toxic pollutants are passed generations after
generations. Ramji et al., (2015)
selected Medaka fish because it has short time period of generation development
so that research on this species become easy for investigate the toxic effects
of continuous exposure of BPA. Results proved that fertilization rate decrease
up to 30% when consecutive two generations was in continuously in contact with
exposure of BPA and third generation showed 20% reduction in fertilization rate.

Reproductive and
developmental toxicity of BPA:

on reproduction in male species:

of different experiments showed that reproduction and development of species
are adversely affected by the introduction of BPA in species habitat. Toxic
impacts of Bisphenol A (BPA) was reviewed by Crain et al. (2007), who conclude that BPA at presence of 21 µg/L or less
cause impacts on male fresh water fisheries. Effects which are occur on
reproduction of male species are: in swordtail freshwater fisheries changes in
cells of testies occur, inhibition of gonadal growth and spermatogenesis in
fathead minnows (Sohoni et al.,
2001), in brown trout reduction in sperm count occur (Labadie and Budzinski,
2006), and introduction of an intersex also happen(Metcalfe et al., 2001). Additionally, when BPA
exposed to male medaka at concentration and placed with fertile females, then
as a result, reduced number of eggs and hatchlings also happened. When 0.3, 1
and 3 µmol/L of BPA were introduce in fresh water fisheries habitat, then there
was no significant impacts were observed (Shioda and Wakabayashi, 2000).. 

·       Effects on reproduction in female

 Different impacts of exposure of BPA on
different species of female fresh water fisheries were reported which include: in
fathead minnows reduction in oviparous occur (Sohoni et al., 2001), in flathead minnow reduction in capability of hatch
the egg, delay in, in brown trout capacity of female fisheries species to laid
egg decreased (Lahnsteiner et al.,
2005), less number of eggs and hatchlings in medaka, introduction of Atlantic
salmon eggshell zona radiata protein (Tyl et
al., 2002). When BPA expose for 3 weeks at concentration of 59 µg/L, it
will result in promotion of estrogen level in turbot. At three concentrations (10,
100 and 1000 µg/L) of BPA, changes were observed in behavioral and histological
structure. In medeka, at 200 µg/L of BPA, embryo lesions and deformities have
been observed. BPA also have effects on the offsprings which includes reduction
in growth and deformities (Honkanen et al.,

Dominance of Female

fish from approximately 25 different populations of fresh water were selected from
Dutch database on freshwater bream populations. It was assumed that msale and
female species should be equivalent, examination of populations were conducted
and results showed that 11% female present in abundant amount than male species.
Significant majority of males were not observed in any case. (Oehlmann et al, 2000).Sex ratio data on fish populations can
affect by many factors but introduction of environmental BPA could be one of
these factors. Obviously, cause and effect can never display by this type of
investigation, but this estimation can increase the chances of the influences of
BPA on living organisms.

Overview on the effect
of BPA on reproductive behaviors in fish      

fresh water fisheries, many laboratory studies have been conducted which
demonstrated the impacts of BPA on behavior which specifically related to
reproduction in individuals, especially on males species to show the impact of
BPA. The adverse impacts of BPA on male fresh water fisheries consist of nest
building destroy in adult male, delayed onset of nest building or nest care
negligence. Reduce nest care and amendments in sexual behavior was observed in
sand gobies when there was continuous exposure of BPA in surroundings (Saaristo
et al., 2009). Similarly, mating of
male and female species are also reluctant when exposed to (at 9.86 ng/L) than
unexposed females.


from available data in fresh water fisheries which have been collected from
experiments, there is evidence that BPA, a toxic chemical, cause toxic hazards for
the environment. In many cases, BPA cause such toxic effects when its
concentration exceed the optimum range in environment. The impacts of life-long
animal exposure to BPA cannot account in laboratory studies, since fish species
are continuously exposed of BPA and BPA continuously released in large amounts
in habitat of fresh water fisheries. Thus, an underestimation of hazardous
impacts of bisphenol A in experiments which have been conducted in laboratory is
possible, additionally there is exposure of bisphenol A in matrices when
species present in natural habitat.                         

of changes which are occur in behavior is difficult to conduct. Similarly, specific
BPA or even modes of action is also difficult to predict.  Not only behaviors which are associated with
sexual functions are affected by BPA but non-sexual behaviors are also affected
by BPA. When experiments are performed to investigate
the impacts of single concentration of BPA, then wild fresh water fisheries may
experience multiple chemical exposure events at a same time which may increase
the complexity by which findings of experiments would difficult to calculate.

of the greatest challenges to study the effects of Bisphenol A on living
organisms is to examine the whole population despite of single individual. For
example, when male female interactions is prevented or reduced due to exposure
of BPA in  the breeding  process 
as a result, chances of  extinction
o population would increase, even 
if  the  individuals have capacity to produce gametes.

studies have done by using little number of fresh water fisheries which
describe the impacts of BPA in fresh water fisheries. Furthermore, to study the
impacts of BPA on fresh water species, mostly experiments are performed in
laboratory in which population of species kept in captives which definitely are
not true representatives of wild life fisheries sample.

regarding to role of bisphenol A on fresh water fisheries is gathered from
results of different experiments which have conducted in either laboratory or
natural habitat is still very limited. So, definitely there is need to conduct
multiple researches either in laboratory or natural habitat to know the all
possible impacts of bisphenol A on fresh water fisheries so that sustainable
use of fresh water fisheries can increase and possible steps can be taken to
reduce the risk of endangerment of fresh water fisheries.















conclusion, collective findings in this review indicate that BPA can cause
serious hazards in process of reproduction of fresh water fisheries. The
different studies which have been conducted on different species of fresh water
fisheries and results showed changes in behavioral phenotypes of fresh water
fisheries are not necessarily specific to BPA. Future efforts should done to
increase an understanding of role of BPA as endocrinal disruptor which threaten
fresh water fish population as well as species.


Ø  To
develop acceptable concentration of Bisphenol A in environment, there should be
conduct a full toxicological assessment on Bisphenol A

Ø  Fresh
water fish species which is more vulnerable should be identified.

Ø  Experiments
should be conduct in natural habitat of fresh water fisheries so that impacts
of bisphenol A on fresh water fisheries can more reliable.

Ø  Different
path ways (digestive system, skin and respiratory system) by which BPA enter in
living body should be determined.

Ø  Evaluate
the bioaccumulation potential of BPA, especially in edible species.








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