Environmental health and toxicology

Screening of agonistic activities against four nuclear receptors in wastewatertreatment plants in Japan using a yeast two-hybrid assay

Daisuke Inoue , Koki Nakama , Kazuko Sawada , Taro Watanabe , Hisae Matsui , Kazunari Sei , Tsuyoshi Nakanishi , Michihiko Ike


Received April 12, 2010,Revised July 28, 2010, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 125-132

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To assess the potential endocrine disruptive e ects through multiple nuclear receptors (NRs), especially non-steroidal NRs, in municipal wastewater, we examined the agonistic activities on four NRs (estrogen receptor , thyroid hormone receptor , retinoic acid receptor and retinoid X receptor ) of untreated and treated wastewater from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Japan using a yeast two-hybrid assay. Investigation of the influent and e uent of seven WWTPs revealed that agonistic activities against steroidal and non-steroidal NRs were always detected in the influents and partially remained in the e uents. Further investigation of four WWTPs employing conventional activated sludge, pseudo-anoxic-oxic, anoxic-oxic and anaerobic-anoxic-oxic processes revealed that the ability to reduce the agonistic activity against each of the four NRs varies depending on the treatment process. These results indicated that municipal wastewater in Japan commonly contains endocrine disrupting chemicals that exert agonistic activities on steroidal and non-steroidal NRs, and that some of these chemicals are released into the natural aquatic environment. Although the results obtained in yeast assays suggested that measured levels of non-steroidal NR agonists in the e uent of WWTPs were not likely to cause any biological e ect, further study is required to assess their possible risks in detail.

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