In this year's competition of the Czech Science Foundation, a project entitled "Characterization of effects of substances with anti-progestogenic activity occurring in the aquatic environments on lower vertebrates" was selected for funding on behalf of the FFPW USB. In 2022-2024, the staff of the Laboratory of Aquatic Toxicology and Ichthyopathology and the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Biochemistry will participate in the project under the leadership of Assoc. Prof. Hana Kocour Kroupová.

In recent decades, evidence has been gathered that certain compounds that enter the environment can adversely affect the endocrine system (hormone-producing organs) of wildlife and humans. These substances are collectively referred to as endocrine disruptors. Due to the occurrence of some endocrine disruptors with estrogenic activity, for example, relatively frequent occurrence of intersex (hermaphroditic) fish individuals in rivers has been reported. The supported project focuses on substances with so-called anti-progestogenic activity, repeatedly detected in the aquatic environment, not only in the Czech Republic. Substances with anti-progestogenic activity block the progesterone receptor and thus prevent the action of natural progestogens (e.g., progesterone), which are female hormones that play a crucial role in the reproduction of all vertebrates. There is a reasonable suspicion that these substances could negatively impact the development and fertility of animals living in the affected areas. Therefore, in the project, emphasis will be placed on monitoring the effect of substances on various parameters related to the development and functional reproduction of exposed fish and amphibians. Information obtained under laboratory conditions may help predict the potential risk of these substances to animals living in a polluted environment.

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