Toxicological profiling of sediments with in vitro mechanisms-based bioassays for endocrine disruption

C.J. Houtman, P.H. Cenijn, T. Hamers, M.H. Lamoree, J. Legler, A.J. Murk, A. Brouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


In vitro bioassays are valuable tools for screening environmental samples for the presence of bioactive (e.g., endocrine-disrupting) compounds. They can be used to direct chemical analysis of active compounds in toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) approaches. In the present study, five in vitro bioassays were used to profile toxic potencies in sediments, with emphasis on endocrine disruption. Nonpolar total and acid-treated stable extracts of sediments from 15 locations in the Rhine Meuse estuary area in The Netherlands were assessed. Dioxin-like and estrogenic activities (using dioxin-responsive chemical-activated luciferase gene expression [DR-CALUX] and estrogen-responsive chemical-activated luciferase gene expression [ER-CALUX] assays) as well as genotoxicity (UMU test) and nonspecific toxic potency (Vibrio fischeri assay) were observed in sediment extracts. For the first time, to our knowledge, in vitro displacement of thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) from the thyroid hormone transport protein thransthyretin by sediment extracts was observed, indicating the presence of compounds potentially able to disrupt T4 plasma transport processes. Antiestrogenic activity was also observed in sediment. The present study showed the occurrence of endocrine-disrupting potencies in sediments from the Dutch delta and the suitability of the ER- and DR-CALUX bioassays to direct endocrine-disruption TIE studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • bioassays
  • sediment
  • toxicity
  • hormones
  • estuaries
  • rivers
  • netherlands
  • endocrine disruptors
  • water bottoms
  • ecotoxicology
  • river rhine
  • river meuse
  • reporter gene assays
  • estrogenic activity
  • aromatic-hydrocarbons
  • human transthyretin
  • expression assays
  • toxic potency
  • extracts
  • chemicals
  • exposure
  • wildlife


Dive into the research topics of 'Toxicological profiling of sediments with in vitro mechanisms-based bioassays for endocrine disruption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this