As part of a large-scale monitoring program of bioaccumulating contaminants in the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in Flanders (Belgium), we investigated potential effects of xenoestrogens in these fish. The present paper describes the results of the plasma vitellogenin (VTG) content, measured in 142 eels sampled at 20 different locations, in relation to the internal pollution levels. To validate the blood VTG assays, a small number of eels (n=8) was exposed to 10 µg ethinylestradiol/l (EE2) for 9 days. In this experiment, VTG was detected as a protein with a molecular weight of 214 kDa and confirmed by Western blotting. Compared with the solvent controls, significantly higher concentrations of VTG were measured in EE2 exposed eel. However, the VTG content was relatively low compared with other fish species exposed to high concentrations of estrogens. The plasma VTG content of eels from the field study was very low, despite a very high internal load of endocrine disrupters. These results, together with previously published studies, suggest that immature yellow European eel might not be the best sentinel species to study the effects of estrogenic compounds on VTG levels of wild fish populations.
- Water Framework Directive
EWI Biomedical sciences
- freshwater eels (Anguillidae)
- aquatic management