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Inger Porsch-Hällström

Inger Porsch-Hällström

Associate Professor


Effects of endocrine disrupters on non-reproductive behavior, fertility and brain and testis transcriptome in fish.

Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies

+46 70 328 18 17 +46703281817


Endocrine disruption in fish: Effects on behaviour and reproduction, development of biomarkers and assessment of risk levels in the Baltic Sea

Group members: Nasim Caspillo, Kristina Volkova, Tove Porserud

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) interfere with the function of the hormone system of all vertebrates and several non-vertebrate species. A variety of EDCs are found in aquatic environments from industrial contamination and from wastewater, where urinary estrogens and synthetic estrogens used for birth control are important contributors. Evidence from field studies suggests relationship between environmental EDC exposure and reproductive alterations in fish, and feminisation of male fish living downstream of sewage treatment plants has been observed. Effects of estrogenic chemicals on reproductive variables, such as abnormal gonad structure and differentiation, intersexuality and sex reversal, decreased sperm count and expression of egg yolk protein in males are well established in many fish species. Studies in mammals and to some extent in fish have shown that EDC exposure during development affect not only fertility and reproduction, but also brain development and sexual and non-sexual behaviour. Changes induced in developing organisms seem to be largely irreversible. New experimental data, so far on rodents only, indicate that effects can be transmitted to offspring several generations later by epigenetic mechanisms, raising the possibility that EDCs can affect long-term fitness in wildlife and human. In the present project, we study if trans-generational effects of EDCs on reproduction and sexual and non-sexual behaviour can be identified in fish. We search for new biomarkers identifying inherited epigenetic changes, and will use them to monitor the Baltic marine ecosystem for signs of multigenerational insult by EDCs. Biomarkers detecting persistent effects of developmental exposure in wild populations will be important even if trans-generational effects are not observed. Furthermore, we have found that non-reproductive behaviour, affecting ecologically significant parameters such as anxiety and shoaling, are very sensitive to EDC exposure, and will further study the mechanism of interference with brain signalling. The main questions addressed are: - Can endocrine disrupting chemicals give reproduction disturbing trans-generational effects in fish? - Can biomarkers of persistent changes caused by exposure be identified, possibly connected to trans-generational effects that can be used to indicate reproduction disturbances in natural fish populations? - Are non-sexual behaviour and brain function important targets for EDCs in fish?

Group members and co-applicants: Stefan Hallgren, Ph.D., Nasim Reyhanian, Ph.D. student, Kristina Volkova, Ph.D. student, Håkan Olsén, Professor, Mats Grahn, Associate Professor, Tomas Bollner, Ph.D.

Publications and manuscripts from the project

N. Reyhanian, K. Volkova, S. Hallgren, T. Bollner, P.-E. Olsson, H. Olsén and I. Porsch Hällstrom. 17α-ethinyl estradiol affects anxiety and shoaling behaviour in adult male zebra fish (Danio rerio). Aquat. Toxicol. 105, 41-48, 2011.

S. Hallgren, K. Volkova, N. Reyhanian, H. Olsén and I. Porsch Hällström. Anxiogenic behaviour induced by 17α-ethinyl estradiol in male guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Fish Physiol. Biochem. 37:4, 1-8, 2011.

K. Volkova,N.. Reyhanian. I. Porsch Hällström, H.Olsén and S. Hallgren. Brain circuit imprints of developmental 17α -Ethinyl estradiol exposure in guppies: Persistent effects on anxiety but not on reproductive behaviour in the adult. Gen Comp Endocrinol 178, 282, 2012.

N. Reyhanian, K. Volkova, S. Hallgren, P.-E- Olsson, H- Olsén and I. Porsach Hällström. Effects of 17α -Ethinyl estradiol exposure of adult male zebrafish on the expression of genes involved in gonadal hormone regulation and sex differentiation. Comp Biochem Physiol C, 164, 35, 2014 .

KH Olsén, K. Ask, H. Olsén, I. Porsch Hällström and S. Hallgren. Effects of the SSRI citalopram on behaviours connected to stress and reproduction in Endler guppy, Poecilia wingei. Aquat. Toxicol. 148, 113, 2014

K. Volkova, N. Reyhanian Caspillo, T Porseryd, S. Hallgren, P. Dinnetz and I. Porsch Hällström. Developmental exposure of zebrafish (Danio rerio) to 17α -Ethinyl estradiol affects non-reproductive behavior and fertitlity as adults, and increase anxiety in unexposed progeny. Hormones and Behavior, accepted, 2015.

K. Volkova, N. Caspillo, S. Hallgren, T. Porseryd, P. Dinnetz, H. Olsén and I. Porsch Hällström. Transgenerational effects of 17α -Ethinyl estradiol on anxiety behavior in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata. Gen Comp Endocrinol, submitted 2015.

K. Volkova, T. Porseryd, N. Reyhanian Caspillo, T. Källman, P. Dinnetz and I. Porsch Hällström. Persistent effects of developmental exposure to 17α-Ethinyl estradiol on the zebrafish (Danio rerio) brain transcriptome and behavior. Manuscript, 2015.

T. Porserud, M. Kellner, N. Reyhanian Caspillo, K. Volkova, L. Elabbas, P. Dinnetz, H. Olsén and I. Porsch Hällström. Combinatory effects of low-dose 17α-ethinyl estradiol and Citalopram on behaviour in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). Manuscript, 2015.

CV Inger Porsch Hällström

1984 PhD Toxicological Genetics, Stockholm Univ. Thesis Cytochrome P-450 in Drosophila melanogaster- activity, genetic variation and regulation.

1992 Assoc Prof Molecular Toxicology, Karolinska Inst

2000 Professor Moleccular Toxicology, Södertörns Högskola


1978-84 Ph. D stud 1984-85 Assist. prof Dept. of Tox Genet, SU

1985-91 Assist. prof. 92-96 Assoc. prof Dept. of Med Nutrition, KI

1996-00 Assoc prof 01-- Prof SH.

Sick leave fall 2003, 25-50% 04-07.


1996-2000 Vice dean, Fac of SH. Responsible for planning and development of teaching and research in Natural Sciences, staff recruitment and locality planning. As member of Rektor's lead group respons. to build up the academic structure. 00-03 Dean, Fac of Life Sciences. 98-- Head of Docent- and Search Committees, Fac of Life Sciences.

Research Interests

PhD Genetic toxicology, mutagenesis, metabolic activation. Post doc Endocrine regulation of carcinogenesis, oncogene/tumor suppressor gene regulation, cell cycle regulation. Current Endocrine disruption in fish, combining toxicology, endocrinology and molecular (epi)genetics.

Major grant awards

1980-83 FRN Cytochrome P-450 in Drosophila melanogaster

1987-91 Faculty position, Toxicology, SU (placed at Inst Med Nut, KI)

1992-96 CF, Salary grant (Cancerforskartjänst).

1987-90, 1992-95 NIH, USA Hormonal regulation of rat liver carcinogenesis

1990-01 CF, Hormone regulated rat liver cancer

2009-2012 Baltic Sea Foundation, Endocrine disruption in fish: Risk identification, development of biomarkers and assessment of risk levels in the Baltic Sea

2013-2015 Baltic Sea Foundation, Endocrine disruption in fish: Effects on behaviour and reproduction, development of biomarkers and assessment of risk levels in the Baltic Sea

PhD Supervision

Main supervisor: DZ Liao 96, L Ohlson 04, L Koroxenidou, (Lic) 04, N Reyhanian (2010-), K Volkova (2010-) Assistant supervisor: J Larson (2011-)

Int. scientific conf: organizer 3, invited lecturer 8, oral/poster pres 17

Publications 46 peer-reviewed, 13 book chapters, 4 submitted/manuscripts

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