Measurement of Biomarkers for Environmental Estrogen Exposure in Raccoons

Windy Dean-Colomb, Elizabeth H. Jeffery

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


This project was conceived as a supplement to that of Dr. J. Levengood entitled "DePue WMA Biological Site Characterization: Segment III - Levels and Effects of Selected Metals in Raccoons". Dr. Levengood had proposed to collect plasma and harvest tissue from raccoons collected in the Lake DePue area, and compare xenobiotic metal levels in tissues from these animals with metal levels from a similar number of raccoons collected from a pristine reference area along the lllinois river. In this supplemental project, we proposed to measure biomarkers for estrogenicity in plasma of these same animals, and to confirm the results through quantification of an estrogen-regulated protein, complement C3, in uterine tissue from all females collected. Raccoons are particularly suitable biomonitors when considering contamination of an Illinois lake or waterway, because of their habits and abundance. We analyzed samples from raccoons located in polluted as well as pristine areas using the ceruloplasmin and angiotensinogen biomarkers developed in our lab. Increase in angiotensinogen was seen in raccoon living in contaminated areas suggesting exposure to estrogenic substances. However, no confirming increases were seen with ceruloplasmin. In addition, complement C3 was not detectable in uterine tissue of raccoons from either location. We conclude that elevated angiotensinogen levels indicate an adverse effect of the polluted environment, but that other markers did not confirm that this was due to estrogenic compounds.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Waste Management and Research Center
StatePublished - 1999


  • Environmental pollutants -- Adverse effects
  • Human reproduction -- Effect of chemicals on
  • Wildlife reproduction -- Effect of chemicals on
  • Raccoons -- Illinois -- Effect of chemicals on
  • Endocrine toxicology
  • Biological assay
  • Estrogens -- Environmental aspects
  • Environmental toxicology


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