ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 P263

Endocrine disruption in lower vertebrates: Xenobiotic exposure affects testicular structure and biochemical composition of semen in a male teleost

Bodil Korsgaard & Tina Rasmussen


University of Southern Denmark, Institute of Biology, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.


Natural and synthetic chemicals such as estrogenic and androgenic compounds have been observed to contribute to the pool of endocrine disruptors in the effluent water from sewage treatment works and may interfere with the endogenous hormonal system regulating reproduction in aquatic organisms. The teleost Zoarces viviparus is a recognized model used in aquatic toxicology due to the existence of a maternal-fetal trophic relationship with embryos/larvae developing in the ovary during a period of approx. 5 months.

In the present work Z. viviparus males were exposed in a flow through seawater system to different xenoestrogens and the effect on testicular structure, seminal fluid volume, spermatocrit and Sertoli cells was studied.

The xenoestrogenic exposure was observed to severely affect gonadosomatic index. and testis histology. The testes appeared degenerated with cellular abnormalities, increased fibrosis in the interstitium between the seminiferous lobules and with abnormal Sertoli cells phagocytising spermatozoa and spermatids. The normal composition of semen was also affected as observed by a decrease in seminal fluid volume and amino acids and a concomitant increase in spermatocrit, Ca, K, and Mg ions.

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