The pollution of antifoulant SeaNine 211, with 4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one (DCOIT) as active ingredient, in coastal environment raises concerns on its adverse effects, including endocrine disruption and impairment of reproductive function in marine organisms. In the present study, we investigated the hepatic protein expression profiles of both male and female marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) exposed to low concentrations of DCOIT at 2.55 mu g/L (0.009 mu M) or butenolide, a promising antifouling agent, at 2.31 mu g/L (0.012 mu M) for 28 days. The results showed that proteins involved in phase I (CYP450 enzyme) metabolism, phase II (UDPGT and GST) conjugation as well as mobilization of retinoid storage, an effective nonenzymatic antioxidant, were consistently up-regulated, possibly facilitating the accelerated detoxification of butenolide. Increased synthesis of bile acid would promote the immediate excretion of butenolide metabolites. Activation of fatty acid beta-oxidation and ATP synthesis were consistent with elevated energy consumption for butenolide degradation and excretion. However, DCOIT did not significantly affect the detoxification system of male medaka, but induced a marked increase of vitellogenin (VTG) by 2.3-fold in the liver of male medaka, suggesting that there is estrogenic activity of DCOIT in endocrine disruption. Overall, this study identified the molecular mechanisms and provided sensitive biomarkers characteristic of butenolide and DCOIT in the liver of marine medaka. The low concentrations of butenolide and DCOIT used in the exposure regimes highlight the needs for systematic evaluation of their environmental risk. In addition, the potent estrogenic activity of DCOIT should be considered in the continued applications of SeaNine 211.