Estrogen-like substances have been suspected to cause feminization of wild fish in rivers in Japan. To elucidate the influence of estrogen-like substances on fish in river, we have started to develop the on-site continuous fish exposure system using medaka Oryzias latipes that were placed in water quality monitoring stations along a river. Adult male medaka were exposed to the river water in a glass exposure tank placed in the monitoring stations. Flow rate of water and water temperature were controlled at 30L/hour and 26°C respectively, and a light: dark cycle was maintained 16:8 hours. A commercial diet free from phyto-estrogens was fed 4 times in a day using automatic feeder. After 2-week exposure, hepatic vitellogenin concentration of each male medaka was measured. The exposure tests were repeatedly performed at both the upstream and the downstream of sewage treatment plants along the River Tama which is a representative urbanized river in Japan. At the control site Haijimabashi monitoring station, vitellogenin was not detected in male medaka. On the other hand, at the Ishihara monitoring station which is the most downstream in this test area, every male medaka were produced vitellogenin in the test performed in the spring of 2004. As the results of the water quality analysis, it could be inferred that the estrone derived from effluents of sewage treatment plants caused the feminization of male medaka. The reason why the concentrations of the estrone and the estrogenic activity using DNA recombinant yeast varied in proportion to the electric conductivity of river water measured at the water quality monitoring station. Furthermore, after continuous 2-week exposure, the vitellogenin production of male medaka was reduced similar to the decrease of the concentrations of the estrone and the estrogenic activity of river water.

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