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Maria Hansson. Photo.

Maria Hansson

Senior lecturer

Maria Hansson. Photo.

Unraveling the estrogen receptor (er) genes in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) reveals expression differences between the two adult life stages but little impact from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) load.


  • Lina Nikoleris
  • Maria Hansson

Summary, in English

Estrogen receptors (ers) not only are activated by hormones but also interact with many human-derived environmental contaminants. Here, we present evidence for four expressed er genes in Atlantic salmon cDNA - two more ers (erα2 and erβ2) than previously published. To determine if er gene expression differs between two adult life-stages we sampled 20 adult salmon from the feeding phase in the Baltic Sea and during migration in the River Mörrum, Sweden. Results show that all four er genes are present in the investigated tissues, except for erα2 not appearing in the spleen. Overall, a profile analysis reveals the erα1 gene to be the most highly expressed er gene in both female and male Baltic Sea salmon tissues, and also in female River Mörrum salmon. In contrast, this gene has the lowest gene expression level of the four er genes in male salmon from the River Mörrum. The erα2 gene is expressed at the lowest levels in both female/male Baltic Sea salmon and in female River Mörrum salmon. Statistical analyses indicate a significant and complex interaction where both sex and adult life stage can impact er gene expression. Regression analyses did not demonstrate any significant relationship between polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) body burden and er gene expression level, suggesting that accumulated pollutants from the Baltic Sea may be deactivated inside the salmon's lipid tissues and have limited impact on er activity. This study is the first comprehensive analysis of four er gene expression levels in two wild salmon populations from two different adult life stages where information about PCB load is also available.


  • Biodiversity
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)

Publishing year







Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology





Document type

Journal article




  • Endocrinology and Diabetes




  • Endocrine disrupters in aquatic environments and impact on organisms
  • Hur hormonreceptorer uttrycks, evolverar och påverkars av miljöföroreningar i lax- och öringspopulationer


  • ISSN: 1872-8057