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Interspecific comparison of estrogen and testosterone  concentrations in three species of amphipods ( Gammarus duebeni celticus, G. pseudolimnaeus, and G. pulex)

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The presence and biological significance of vertebrate-related steroid sex hormones in aquatic invertebrates are poorly understood. We compared the concentrations of estrogen (17β-estradiol) and testosterone between amplexing male and female freshwater amphipods of three species from two continents: Gammarus duebeni celticusLiljeborg, 1852 and G. pulex(L., 1758) from Europe, and G. pseudolimnaeusBousfield, 1958 from North America. All three species were found to have measureable concentrations of both hormones in whole body lysate samples but the concentrations differed between species, with testosterone differing significantly between species only for male amphipods and estradiol differing significantly between species only for female amphipods. Concentrations of both testosterone and estrogen differed between males and females in two of the three species ( G. duebeni celticusand G. pseudolimnaeus). Females had the highest concentration of both hormones in G. duebeni celticusand the lowest concentration of both hormones in G. pseudolimnaeus. These results contribute to a growing body of evidence that these hormones are endogenously produced and biologically relevant in amphipods. Such evidence is particularly important in light of increasing prevalence of endocrine-disrupting compounds in the environment and the central role played by amphipods in aquatic ecosystems.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Life Sciences, Carroll University, 100 N East Avenue, Waukesha, WI 53186, USA; 2: 2School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK; 3: 3Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, 3210 N. Cramer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA; 4: 5Department of Health and Medicine, Carroll University, 100 N East Avenue, Waukesha, WI 53186, USA


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