Hypoxic and temporal variation in the endocrine disrupting toxicity of perfluorobutanesulfonate in marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma)

Baili Sun, Jing Li, Yachen Bai, Xiangzhen Zhou, Paul K.S. Lam, Lianguo Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS) is an emerging pollutant capable of potently disrupting the sex and thyroid endocrine systems of teleosts. However, the hypoxic and temporal variation in PFBS endocrine disrupting toxicity remain largely unknown. In the present study, adult marine medaka were exposed to environmentally realistic concentrations of PFBS (0 and 10 µg/L) under normoxia or hypoxia conditions for 7 days, aiming to explore the interactive behavior between PFBS and hypoxia. In addition, PFBS singular exposure was extended till 21 days under normoxia to elucidate the time-course progression in PFBS toxicity. The results showed that hypoxia inhibited the growth and caused the suspension of egg spawn regardless of PFBS exposure. With regard to the sex endocrine system, 7-day PFBS exposure led to an acute stimulation of transcriptional profiles in females, which, subsequently, recovered after the 21-day exposure. The potency of hypoxia to disturb the sex hormones was much stronger than PFBS. A remarkable increase in estradiol concentration was noted in medaka blood after hypoxia exposure. Changes in sex endocrinology of coexposed fish were largely determined by hypoxia, which drove the formation of an estrogenic environment. PFBS further enhanced the endocrine disrupting effects of hypoxia. However, the hepatic synthesis of vitellogenin and choriogenin, two commonly used sensitive biomarkers of estrogenic activity, failed to initiate in response to the estrogen stimulus. Compared to sex endocrine system, disturbances in thyroidal axis by PFBS or hypoxia were relatively mild. Overall, the present findings will advance our toxicological understanding about PFBS pollutant under the interference of hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Aquatic hypoxia
  • Combined exposure
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Marine medaka
  • Perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS)
  • Temporal toxicity


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