Endocrine disruption: Thyroid dysfunction in mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) from a polluted habitat

T. Zhou, H. B. John-Alder, J. S. Weis, P. Weis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) from Piles Creeks (PC), New Jersey (a polluted site), are sluggish and show poorer prey capture and predator avoidance than reference fish from Tuckerton (TK). The behavioral dysfunction of the PC fish may be associated with thyroid impairment due to endocrine disruption. In this study, we compared thyroid histology and thyroid hormones in the two populations and determined experimentally whether the polluted environment could alter thyroid hormone levels. PC fish had larger thyroid follicles, greater follicle cell heights, and contained higher plasma thyroxine (T4) levels than TK fish. However, there were no significant differences in either plasma or tissue triiodothyronine (T3). TK fish held in simulated PC environments had higher plasma T4 and lower plasma T3 than field-sampled fish. PC fish held in clean water had lower plasma T4 and T3 than field-sampled fish. In either case, there was no significant difference in tissue T3 content. The contaminants in PC alter thyroid structure and function, which may relate to the behavioral differences between fish from the polluted and reference sites. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number1-5
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


  • Behavior
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Fundulus
  • Mummichog
  • Thyroid
  • Thyroxin


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