Shappell NW, Feifarek DJ, Rearick DC, Bartell SE, Schoenfuss HL. 2017. Do environmental factors affect male fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) response to estrone? Part 2. Temperature and food availability. Sci Tot Environ 611:32–43.
Fish are subject to constantly changing environmental conditions and food availability, factors that may impact their response to endocrine disruptors (EDs). This may, in part, explain outcome discrepancies between field studies and laboratory exposures to EDs. This study assessed whether standard laboratory conditions for fish exposures adequately represent effects of ED exposure at two environmentally realistic temperatures. The impact of temperature and food availability on male fathead minnow response to estrone (E1) exposure was studied in two experiments (3 × 2 × 2 factorial design) with three E1 concentrations (range 0–135 ng/L); two temperatures (18 °C and 26 °C, the latter the prescribed laboratory temperature), and two feeding treatments (full fed vs. 25% of full fed) in a 21-day flow-through system. Morphometric endpoints [including body condition factor, somatic index of gonad (GSI) and liver (HSI), and secondary sex characteristics (SSC)], blood parameters [hematocrit (HCT), blood glucose, cortisol, and vitellogenin (VTG) concentrations], and histology of liver and testis were determined on day 22. High E1 consistently increased VTG, though interactions among E1, temperature and/or food on liver weight, HSI, and HCT were inconsistent between experiments. High temperature impacted the greatest number of parameters, independent of E1 treatment. Three sex-linked parameters were lower at high temperature (testis weight, GSI and VTG), and in Exp. 2SSC and gonad maturity rating were lower. At 26 °C, in Exp. 1 HSI and HCT decreased, and in Exp. 2 length, body and liver weight, and body condition factor were lower. Food restriction decreased GSI in Exp. 1, and blood glucose and liver weight in Exp. 2. At 26 °C several parameters were altered independent of E1 exposure, including three out of four measurements of sperm differentiation. Concordance between laboratory and field investigations of the biological effects of EDs may improve if environmentally-relevant exposure conditions, especially temperature, are employed.