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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 681396, 7 pages
Research Article

Phytoestrogens β-Sitosterol and Genistein Have Limited Effects on Reproductive Endpoints in a Female Fish, Betta splendens

1Department of Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, USA
2Graduate Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
3Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
4Doctoral Program in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA

Received 28 October 2013; Revised 8 January 2014; Accepted 12 January 2014; Published 23 February 2014

Academic Editor: Zhi-Hua Li

Copyright © 2014 A. C. Brown et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Phytoestrogens are produced by plants and may cause endocrine disruption in vertebrates. The present study hypothesizes that phytoestrogen exposure of female Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) may disrupt endogenous steroid levels, change agonistic behavior expression, and potentially also disrupt oocyte development. However, only the pharmacologic dose of β-sitosterol had a significant effect on opercular flaring behavior, while we did not find significant effects of β-sitosterol or genistein on steroids or gonads. These findings are in direct contrast with previous studies on the effects of phytoestrogens in female fish. Results of the current study support previous work showing that the effects of phytoestrogen exposure may be less acute in mature female B. splendens than in other fish.