Effects of triphenyltin on fish early life stages

  • K. Fent
  • W. Meier


Using a static-renewal procedure, effects of triphenyltin chloride (TPT) on hatching, survival, and morphology were assessed in early life stages of European minnows Phoxinus phoxinus. Embryonic-larval exposure at 16 and 21°C, and larval exposure at 16°C were compared. In the embryoniclarval exposure at 16°C, hatching was delayed and hatching success decreased at 15.9 μg/L. Mortality increased at ≥3.9 μg/L TPT, and complete mortality occurred after 7 and 9 days at 15.9 and 5.1 μg/L, respectively. Mortality was higher at 21°C that at 16°C. Triphenyltin was more toxic to fish in larval stages. The induced effects were dose related, mortality increased at 1.8 μg/L after 3 days, and was total after 5 days at 10.6 μg/L. In all high TPT exposures, larvae developed skeletal malformations (bent tails), showed impaired swimming behavior or paralysis, and eyes became opaque. Marked histopathological alterations were found. Degenerative hydropic vacuolation of the cytoplasm were evident in skeletal muscles, skin, kidneys, corneal epithelium, lens, pigment layer of the retina and choroid, retina, and CNS including spinal cord. In severe cases, nuclear changes including pycnosis and karyorrhexis occurred. The observed toxicity of TPT was similar to that of tributyltin, but TPT acted more selectively on the lens and CNS, whereas other tissues were less affected. The study indicates that Phoxinus phoxinus larvae are negatively affected at peak TPT concentrations found in polluted environments.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alzieu C, Sanjuan J, Michel P, Borel M, Dreno JP (1989) Monitoring and assessment of butyltins in Atlantic coastal waters. Mar Pollut Bull 20:22–26Google Scholar
  2. Alzieu C, Michel P, Tolosa I, Bacci E, Mee LD, Readman JW (1991) Organotin compounds in the Mediterranean: a continuing cause for concern. Mar Environ Res 32:261–270Google Scholar
  3. Bock R (1981) Triphenyltin compounds and their degradation products. Residue Rev 79:1–270Google Scholar
  4. Brüschweiler BJ, Fent K (1994) Unpublished results.Google Scholar
  5. Chliamovitch YP, Kuhn C (1977) Behavioral, haematological and histological studies on acute toxicity of bis(tri-n-butyltin) oxide on Salmo gairdneri Richardson and Tilapia rendalli Boulenger. J Fish Biol 10:575–585Google Scholar
  6. de Vries H, Penninks AH, Snoeij NJ, Seinen W (1991) Comparative toxicity of organotin compounds to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) yolk sac fry. Sci Total Environ 103:229–243Google Scholar
  7. Fent K (1991) Bioconcentration and elimination of tributyltin chloride by embryos and larvae of minnows Phoxinus phoxinus. Aquat Toxicol 20:147–158Google Scholar
  8. — (1992) Embryotoxic effects of tributyltin on the minnow Phoxinus phoxinus. Environ Pollut 76:187–194Google Scholar
  9. Fent K, Hunn J (1991) Phenyltins in water, sediment, and biota of freshwater marinas. Environ Sci Technol 25:956–963Google Scholar
  10. Fent K, Meier W (1992) Tributyltin-induced effects on early life stages of minnows Phoxinus phoxinus. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 22(4):428–438Google Scholar
  11. Fent K, Hunn J (1994) Unpublished results.Google Scholar
  12. Fent K, Lovas R, Hunn J (1991) Bioaccumulation, elimination and metabolism of triphenyltin chloride by early life stages of minnows Phoxinus phoxinus. Naturwissenschaften 78:125–127Google Scholar
  13. Giavini E, Prati M, Vismara C (1980) Effects of triphenyltin acetate on pregnancy in the rat. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 24:936–939Google Scholar
  14. Hall LW Jr, Pinkney AE (1985) Acute and sublethal effects of organotin compounds on aquatic biota: an interpretative literature evaluation. CRC Crit Rev Toxicol 14:159–207Google Scholar
  15. Jarvinen AW, Tanner DK, Kline ER, Knuth ML (1988) Acute and chronic toxicity of triphenyltin hydroxide to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) following brief or continuous exposure. Environ Pollut 52:289–301Google Scholar
  16. Jensen KG, Andersen O, Rønne M (1991) Organotin compounds induce aneuploidy in human peripheral lymphocytes in vitro. Mut Res 246:109–112.Google Scholar
  17. Meier W, Pfister K (1981) Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) in pike (Esox lucius L.): Clinical, macroscopic, histological and electronmicroscopical findings. Direct visualization of the Esten-virus. Schweiz Arch Tierheilk 123:27–49Google Scholar
  18. Müller MD (1987) Comprehensive trace level determination of organotin compounds in environmental samples using high-resolution gas chromatography with flame photometric detection. Anal Chem 59:617–623Google Scholar
  19. Schaefer CH, Miura T, Dupras JEF, Wilder WH (1981) Environmental impact of the fungicide triphenyltin hydroxide after application to rice fields. J Econ Entomol 74:597–600Google Scholar
  20. Schwaiger J, Bucher F, Ferling H, Kalbfus W, Negele RD (1992) A prolonged toxicity study on the effects of sublethal concentrations of bis(tri-n-butyltin)oxide (TBTO): histopathological and histochemical findings in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Aquat Toxicol 23:31–48Google Scholar
  21. Shiraishi H, Soma, M (1992) Triphenyltin compounds in mussels in Tokyo Bay after restriction of use in Japan. Chemosphere 24:1103–1109Google Scholar
  22. Snoeij NJ, Van Iersel AAJ, Penninks AH, Seinen W (1985) Toxicity of triorganotin compounds: Comparative in vivo studies with a series of trialkyltin compounds and triphenyltin chloride in male rats. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 81:274–286Google Scholar
  23. Stäb JA, Cofino WP, van Hattum B, Brinkman UAT (1993) Comparison of GC/MSD and GC/AED for the determination of organotin compounds in the environment. Fresenius J Anal Chem 347:247–255Google Scholar
  24. Tsuda T, Nakanishi H, Aoki S, Takebayashi J (1987) Bioconcentration and metabolism of phenyltin chlorides in carp. Water Res 21:949–953Google Scholar
  25. Tsuda T, Aoki S, Kojima M, Harada H (1990) The influence of pH on the accumulation of tri-n-butyltin chloride and triphenyltin chloride in carp. Comp Biochem Physiol 95C:151–153Google Scholar
  26. Verschuuren HG, Kroes R, Vinck HH, Van Esch GJ (1966) Short-term toxicity studies with triphenyltin compounds in rats and guineapigs. Food Cosmetic Toxicol 4:35Google Scholar
  27. Verschuuren HG, Ruitenberg EJ, Peetom F, Helleman PW, Van Esch GJ (1970) Influence of triphenyltin acetate on lymphatic tissue and immune responses in guinea pigs. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 16:400–410Google Scholar
  28. Weis JS, Weis P (1989) Effects of environmental pollutants on early fish development. CRC Rev Aquat Sci 1:45–73Google Scholar
  29. Wester PW, Canton JH (1987) Histopathological study of Poecilia reticulata (guppy) after long-term exposure to bis(tri-n-butyltin) oxide (TBTO) and di-n-butyltindichloride (DBTC). Aquat Toxicol 10:143–165Google Scholar
  30. Wu RM, Chang YC, Chiu HC (1990) Acute triphenyltin intoxication: A case report. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychol 53:356–357Google Scholar
  31. Zuckerman JJ, Reisdorf RR, Ellis HV, Wilkinson RR (1978) Organotins in biology and the environment. In: Brinckman FE, Bellama JM (eds) Organometals and organometalloids: Occurrence and fate in the environment. Americal Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 388–422Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Fent
    • 1
  • W. Meier
    • 2
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)DübendorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Animal PathologyUniversity of BerneBerneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations