Phytosterols Act as Endocrine and Metabolic Disruptors in the European Polecat (Mustela putorius)

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.71). 02/2002; 178(1):22-8. DOI: 10.1006/taap.2001.9315
Source: PubMed


Phytosterols or plant sterols (PS) are consumed as natural remedies and margarines by the general population in developed countries to lower elevated serum cholesterol levels. They are also present in high concentrations in pulp mill effluents. The aim of the study was to screen the endocrine and metabolic parameters of the European polecat (Mustela putorius) for the effects of PS. The results showed an increase in the plasma estradiol and TH levels with no effects on the hypophyseal regulatory hormones. The plasma ghrelin levels decreased. PS also affected intermediary metabolism. The liver glycogen content increased as did the kidney glucose-6-phosphatase activity. The liver lipase esterase activity, on the other hand, decreased due to PS. In serum lipids the total cholesterol did not change, but the low-density lipoprotein levels increased and the high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ratio decreased. PS had widespread previously unreported effects on the physiology of the polecat. The multiple effects indicate the need of a thorough risk assessment of the effects and interactions of PS.

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    • "Natural (estrone, estriol, estradiol, etc.) and synthetic (17- ethinylestradiol, etc.) hormones can induce endocrine disrupting effects in the aquatic environment, such as stimulation of feminization in fish at very low concentrations [11] [12] [13]. It was shown that phytosterols can also act as endocrine and metabolic disruptors in the aquatic environment [14] [15]. Traditionally, coliform and enterococci bacteria were used as indicators of environmental fecal contamination [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, development and optimization of new LC-MS method for determination of twenty selected hormones, human/animal and plant sterols in river sediments were described. Sediment samples were prepared using ultrasonic extraction and clean up with silica gel/anhydrous sodium sulphate cartridge. Extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatography-linear ion trap-tandem mass spectrometry, with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The optimized extraction parameters were extraction solvent (methanol), weight of the sediment (2g) and time of ultrasonic extraction (3× 10min). Successful chromatographic separation of hormones (estriol and estrone, 17α- and 17β-estradiol) and four human/animal sterols (epicoprostanol, coprostanol, α-cholestanol and β-cholestanol) that have identical fragmentation reactions was achieved. The developed and optimized method provided high recoveries (73-118%), low limits of detection (0.8-18ngg(-1)) and quantification (2.5-60ngg(-1)) with the RSDs generally lower than 20%. Applicability of the developed method was confirmed by analysis of six river sediment samples. A widespread occurrence of human/animal and plant sterols was found. The only detected hormone was mestranol in just one sediment sample.
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    ABSTRACT: Phytosterols or plant sterols (PS) enter the ecosystem via pulp mill effluents. They are also consumed by the general population of developed countries in natural remedies and margarines to lower elevated serum cholesterol levels. This study screened the endocrine and enzymatic parameters of the field vole (Microtus agrestis) for the effects of subchronic PS exposure at three doses (0, 5, or 50 mg of PS kg(-1) day(-1)). PS at 5 or 50 mg kg(-1) day(-1) decreased the relative liver weight of the voles. The kidney glycogen phosphorylase activity decreased at 5 or 50 mg kg(-1) day(-1), but the liver glycogen phosphorylase activity increased at 5 mg kg(-1) day(-1). The plasma estradiol and testosterone concentrations of males were higher due to PS supplement at 5 mg kg(-1) day(-1). This can be due to increased sex steroid synthesis from PS precursors. Biotransformation enzyme activities were not affected. PS caused multiple, previously unreported effects that were more pronounced at a low dose. As 5 mg PS kg(-1) day(-1) is the recommended dose for various health products, a thorough risk assessment of the effects and interactions of PS is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2003 · Experimental Biology and Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Phytosterols (PS) are the analogues of animal cholesterol in various plants. beta-Sitosterol is a PS used in margarines and natural remedies to lower elevated serum cholesterol levels. PS enter the ecosystem via pulp mill effluents. The study investigated the endocrine and metabolic effects of PS on the female raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), a canid omnivore. Eight female animals were exposed perorally to 8 mg PS/kg/d for 4 wk with 8 animals in the control group. In the PS-treated females, there was a transitory decrease in the plasma estradiol concentrations with an increase in the plasma follicle-stimulating hormone levels. The plasma triiodothyronine concentrations were higher in the PS group. Serum lipid concentrations decreased in PS-treated and control animals. This probably represents a seasonal adaptation. Most of the cholesterol in raccoon dog serum was high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, unlike that in humans but similar to some other carnivores. Liver and kidney ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activities were lower in the PS treated females. Data indicate that raccoon dogs may not be a sentinel species for PS effects.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2003 · Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A
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