Polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, and potential endocrine disruption in fish from the Hudson River, New York, USA

Barry P. Baldigo, Ronald J. Sloan, Stephen B. Smith, Nancy D. Denslow, Vicki S. Blazer, Timothy S. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Tissue residues of total mercury (Hg), total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and lipid-based PCBs; plasma concentrations of endocrine biomarkers; and reproductive and histologic biomarkers were assessed in 460 carp (Cyprinus carpio), bass (Micropterus salmoides and Micropterus dolomieui), and bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) collected from eight sites across the Hudson River Basin in the spring of 1998 to determine if endocrine disruption was evident in resident fish species and to evaluate contaminant-biomarker interrelations. Total PCBs in bed sediments (maximum 2,500 μg kg-1) could explain 64 to 90% of the variability in lipid-based PCB residues in tissues (maximum 1,250 μg PCB g-lipid-1) of the four species. The 17β-estradiol to 11-ketotestosterone ratio, typically less than 1.0 in male fish and greater than 1.0 in females, exceeded 1.4 in all male largemouth bass and 35% of male carp and bullhead at one site 21 km downstream from a major PCB source. Endocrine biomarkers were significantly correlated with total Hg in female smallmouth bass and carp, and with lipid-based PCBs in males of all four species. Empirical evidence of endocrine modulation in blood plasma of male and female fish from sites with and without high PCB residues in bed sediments and fish tissues suggest that PCBs, Hg, or other contaminants may disrupt normal endocrine function in fish of the Hudson River.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-228
Number of pages23
JournalAquatic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology


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