Clobetasol propionate causes immunosuppression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) at environmentally relevant concentrations.
Contamination of the environment with endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is a major health concern. The presence of estrogenic compounds in water and their deleterious effect are well documented. However, detection and monitoring of other classes of EDCs is limited. Here we utilize a high-throughput live cell assay based on sub-cellular relocalization of GFP-tagged glucocorticoid and androgen receptors (GFP-GR and GFP-AR), in combination with gene transcription analysis, to screen for glucocorticoid and androgen activity in water samples. We report previously unrecognized glucocorticoid activity in 27%, and androgen activity in 35% of tested water sources from 14 states in the US. Steroids of both classes impact body development, metabolism, and interfere with reproductive, endocrine, and immune systems. This prevalent contamination could negatively affect wildlife and human populations.