, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 815–824 | Cite as

Parental exposure to methyl methane sulfonate of three-spined stickleback: contribution of DNA damage in male and female germ cells to further development impairment in progeny

  • R. Santos
  • M. Palos-Ladeiro
  • A. Besnard
  • J. Reggio
  • E. Vulliet
  • J. M. Porcher
  • S. Bony
  • W. Sanchez
  • A. DevauxEmail author


Data regarding the link between DNA integrity of germ cells and the quality of progeny in fish exposed to genotoxicant are scarce although such information is of value to understand genotoxic effects of contaminants in aquatic fauna. This work aimed at studying the consequences of a parental exposure during the breeding season on offspring quality in three-spined stickleback. After in vivo exposure of adult fish to methyl methane sulfonate, a model alkylating compound, a clear increase in DNA damage was observed in erythrocytes of both genders, here used as a biomarker of exposure. MMS exposure significantly affected sperm DNA integrity but neither female fecundity nor fertilization success. In order to understand the contribution of each sex to potential deleterious effects in progeny due to parental exposure, mating of males and females exposed or not to MMS, was carried out. Exposure of both males and females or of males alone led to a significant increase in both mortality during embryo–larval stages and abnormality rate at hatching that appeared to be sensitive stages. Thus, in accordance with recent studies carried out in other freshwater fish species, such development defects in progeny were clearly driven by male genome, known to be devoid of DNA repair capacity in spermatozoa. The next step will be to investigate the link between DNA damage in stickleback sperm and reproductive impairment in natural populations exposed to complex mixture of genotoxicants.


Stickleback Genotoxicity Comet assay Germ cell Reproduction Offspring quality 



This work was supported by the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development (Programme 190 Ecotoxicology).The authors thank Cyril Turies, Vincent Lisiak and Benjamin Piccini for their help to build embryo incubators and larvae tanks. Thanks to Stephane Maestra and Patrick Nisole for helping to design the genotoxic waste water treatment system. Thanks to Goulwen de Kermoysan and Remy Baudoin for fish sexing. The authors thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and valuable remarks that greatly improve the final version of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

Procedures described in the present paper were conducted in accordance with laws and regulations controlling animal experiments in France. All experimental protocols were approved by the ethical committee of the French Institute of Industrial Environment and Risks.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Santos
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. Palos-Ladeiro
    • 3
  • A. Besnard
    • 4
  • J. Reggio
    • 5
  • E. Vulliet
    • 5
  • J. M. Porcher
    • 3
  • S. Bony
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Sanchez
    • 3
  • A. Devaux
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Université de Lyon, UMR 5023 LEHNAVilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.INRA, USC IGH, ENTPEVaulx en VelinFrance
  3. 3.INERIS, Unité d’écotoxicologie in vitro et in vivoVerneuil en HalatteFrance
  4. 4.Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (UMR 5175), EPHE, Biogéographie et Ecologie des Vertébrés, campus CNRSMontpellier cedex 5France
  5. 5.Département Service Central d’Analyse, Institut des Sciences Analytiques, UMR 5280VilleurbanneFrance

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