Excessive fluoride in natural water ecosystem has been demonstrated to have adverse effects on reproductive system in humans and mammals, while the most vulnerable aquatic organisms were ignored. In this study, the effects of waterborne fluoride on growth performance, sex steroid hormone, histological structure, and the transcriptional profiles of sex steroid related genes were examined in both female and male zebrafish exposed to different concentrations of 0.79, 18.60, 36.83 mg L-1 of fluoride for 30 and 60 d to investigate the effects of fluoride on reproductive system and the underlying toxic mechanisms caused by fluoride. The results showed that the body weight was remarkably decreased, the structure of ovary and testis were serious injured, and the T and E2 levels were significantly reduced in male zebrafish. The transcriptional profiles of steroidogenic related genes displayed phenomenal alterations, the expressions of pgr and cyp19a1a were significantly up-regulated, while the transcriptional levels of er, ar and hsd3B were decreased both in the ovary and testis, and hsd17B8 were down-regulated just in males. Taken together, these results demonstrated that fluoride could significantly inhibit the growth of zebrafish, and notably affect the reproductive system in both sex zebrafish by impairing the structure of ovary and testis, altering steroid hormone levels and steroidogenic genes expression related to the synthesis of sex hormones in zebrafish.
*Abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0045653515303738?via%3Dihub