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The Japanese Quail as an avian model for testing endocrine disrupting chemicals: endocrine and behavioral end points

January 1, 2000

Birds have extremely varied reproductive strategies. As such, the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can greatly differ across avian species. Precocial species, such as Japanese quail appear to be most sensitive to EDC effects during embryonic development, particularly sexual differentiation. A great deal is known about the ontogeny of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) relative to endocrine, neuro-endocrine, and behavioral components of reproduction. Therefore, this species provides an excellent model for understanding effects of EDCs on reproductive biology with exposure at specific stages of the life cycle. The purpose of these experiments was to conduct a 1- or 2- generation experiment with positive or negative control chemicals and to determine changes in selected end points. Japanese quail embryos were exposed to estradiol benzoate (EB; positive control) in a 2-generation design or to fadrozole (FAD; negative control) in a 1-generation design. Embryonic EB treatment resulted in significant reductions (p< 0.5) in hen day production (90.2 vs 54.1; control vs EB, resp.) and fertility (85.3 vs 33.4%, control vs EB, resp.). Males showed sharply reduced courtship and mating behaviors as well as increased lag time (26 vs 148 sec; control vs EB) in behavioral tests. Fadrozole exposure resulted in reduced hatchability of fertile eggs, particularly at higher doses. There were no significant effects on courtship and mating behavior of males although males showed an increased lag time in their responses, nally, a behavioral test for studying motor and fear responses in young chicks was used; chicks exposed to an estrogenic pesticide (methoxychlor) showed some deficits. In summary, the use of appropriate and reliable end points that are responsive to endocrine disruption are critical for assessment of EDCs. Supported in part by EPA grant R826134.

Publication Year 2000
Title The Japanese Quail as an avian model for testing endocrine disrupting chemicals: endocrine and behavioral end points
Authors M. A. Ottinger, M.A. Abdelnabi, N. Thompson, J. Wu, K. Henry, E. Humphries, P.F.P. Henry
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, annual meeting abstract book
Index ID 5224171
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center