Identification of Unknown Antiandrogenic Compounds in Surface Waters by Effect-Directed Analysis (EDA) Using a Parallel Fractionation Approach
Among all the nuclear-receptor mediated endocrine disruptive effects, antiandrogenicity is frequently observed in aquatic environments and may pose a risk to aquatic organisms. Linking these effects to responsible chemicals is challenging and a great share of antiandrogenic activity detected in the environment has not been explained yet. To identify drivers of this effect at a hot spot of antiandrogenicity in the German river Holtemme, we applied effect-directed analysis (EDA) including a parallel fractionation approach, a downscaled luciferase reporter gene cell-based anti-AR-CALUX assay and LC-HRMS/MS nontarget screening. We identified and confirmed the highly potent antiandrogen 4-methyl-7-diethylaminocoumarin (C47) and two derivatives in the active fractions. The relative potency of C47 to the reference compound flutamide was over 5.2, whereas the derivatives were less potent. C47 was detected at a concentration of 13.7 μg/L, equal to 71.4 μg flutamide equivalents per liter (FEq/L) in the nonconcentrated water extract that was posing an antiandrogenic activity equal to 45.5 (±13.7 SD) FEq/L. Thus, C47 was quantitatively confirmed as the major cause of the measured effect in vitro. Finally, the antiandrogenic activity of C47 and one derivate was confirmed in vivo in spiggin-gfp Medaka. An endocrine disrupting effect of C47 was observed already at the concentration equal to the concentration in the nonconcentrated water extract, underlining the high risk posed by this compound to the aquatic ecosystem. This is of some concern since C47 is used in a number of consumer products indicating environmental as well as human exposure.