Timothy A Springer

Wildlife International, Maryland, United States

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Publications (4)13.22 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The natural estrogen 17 beta-estradiol (E2) is a potential environmental contaminant commonly employed as a positive control substance in bioassays involving estrogenic effects. The aquatic anuran Xenopus laevis is a frequent subject of reproductive endocrine disruptor research; however, histopathological investigations have tended to be less than comprehensive. Consequently, a study was designed to characterize gross and microscopic changes in the gonads of X. laevis as a result of E2 exposure. Additional goals of this study, which consisted of three separate experiments, included the standardization of diagnostic terminology and criteria, the validation of statistical methodology, and the establishment of a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) for E2 as defined by an approximately 50% conversion of presumptive genotypic males to phenotypic females. In the first experiment, frogs were exposed to nominal concentrations of 0, 0.2, 1.5, or 6.0 microg/L E2. From these experimental results and those of a subsequent range finding trial, the EC50 for E2 was determined to be approximately 0.2 microg/L. This E2 concentration was utilized in the other two experiments, which were performed at different facilities to confirm the reproducibility of results. Experiments were conducted according to Good Laboratory Practice guidelines, and the histopathologic evaluations were peer reviewed by an independent pathologist. Among the three trials, the histopathological findings that were strongly associated with E2-exposure (p<0.001 to 0.0001) included an increase in the proportion of phenotypic females, mixed sex, dilated testis tubules, dividing gonocytes in the testis, and dilated ovarian cavities in phenotypic ovaries. A comparison of the gross and microscopic evaluations suggested that some morphologic changes in the gonads may potentially be missed if studies rely entirely on macroscopic assessment.
    Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 05/2010; 29(5):1091-105. · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Debate and controversy exists concerning the potential for the herbicide atrazine to cause gonadal malformations in developing Xenopus laevis. Following review of the existing literature the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required a rigorous investigation conducted under standardized procedures. X. laevis tadpoles were exposed to atrazine at concentrations of 0.01, 0.1, 1, 25, or 100 microg/l from day 8 postfertilization (dpf) until completion of metamorphosis or dpf 83, whichever came first. Nearly identical experiments were performed in two independent laboratories: experiment 1 at Wildlife International, Ltd. and experiment 2 at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). Both experiments employed optimized animal husbandry procedures and environmental conditions in validated flow-through exposure systems. The two experiments demonstrated consistent survival, growth, and development of X. laevis tadpoles, and all measured parameters were within the expected ranges and were comparable in negative control and atrazine-treated groups. Atrazine, at concentrations up to 100 microg/l, had no effect in either experiment on the percentage of males or the incidence of mixed sex as determined by histological evaluation. In contrast, exposure of larval X. laevis to 0.2 microg 17beta-estradiol/l as the positive control resulted in gonadal feminization. Instead of an even distribution of male and female phenotypes, percentages of males:females:mixed sex were 19:75:6 and 22:60:18 in experiments 1 and 2, respectively. These studies demonstrate that long-term exposure of larval X. laevis to atrazine at concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 100 microg/l does not affect growth, larval development, or sexual differentiation.
    Toxicological Sciences 12/2008; 107(2):376-84. · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For a broad range of circumstances, we show that reliable bioconcentration factor (BCF) estimates can be made using a study design that is based on standard regulatory guideline test procedures but that uses significantly fewer animals and resources. This minimized design involves taking tissue samples only twice during a 14-d depuration period. The utility of the minimized test design was first assessed by resampling data from a series of standard guideline tests and calculating the BCF estimates that would have been obtained if the test had been performed using the minimized design. Data from 25 bioconcentration curves giving BCF estimates ranging from approximately 0.3 to over 20,000 were used. The correlation of log BCF estimates from the guideline study with log BCF estimates from the simulated minimized tests was r=0.99, and the slope of the regression line was 0.96. The robustness of BCF estimates to random variation in measurement of chemicals in fish and water (coefficients of variation of concentrations ranging up to 25%) was evaluated using Monte Carlo simulations. For chemicals with depuration half-lives of less than the length of the depuration period, median BCF estimates from the Monte Carlo simulations of the minimized design were always within 7% of the true BCE The ratio of the 95th to the 5th percentile BCF estimates was always less than or equal to 3.7. Furthermore, the span from the 95th to the 5th percentile of BCF estimates was only 15% wider in the minimized test than in the full guideline test, even though animal use and analytical effort was markedly reduced.
    Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 11/2008; 27(11):2271-80. · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Xenopus laevis has been introduced as a model to study effects of endocrine-active compounds (EAC) on development and sexual differentiation. However, variable and inconsistent data have raised questions about the reliability of the test methods applied. The current study was conducted in two laboratories to develop, refine, and standardize procedures and protocols. Larvae were exposed in flow-through systems to 17beta-estradiol (E2), at concentrations from 0.2 to 6.0 microg E2 L(-1) in Experiment 1A, and 0.015 to 2.0 microg E2 L(-1) in Experiment 1B. In both studies survival (92%, 99%) and percentage of animals that completed metamorphosis (97%, 99%) indicated reproducible biological performance. Furthermore, minor variations in husbandry led to significant differences in snout-to-vent length, weight, and gonad size. In Experiment 1A, almost complete feminization occurred in all E2 treatment groups whereas a concentration response was observed in Experiment 1B resulting in an EC(50) of 0.12 microg E2 L(-1). The final verified protocol is suitable for determining effects of EAC on development and sexual differentiation in X. laevis.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 05/2008; 390(8):2031-48. · 3.66 Impact Factor