• Environmental and human health issues related to long term contamination by chlordecone in the French West Indies
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Multi-scale impact of chronic exposure to environmental concentrations of chlordecone in freshwater cnidarian, Hydra circumcincta

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Chlordecone (CLD) is an organochlorine pesticide widely used in the past to control pest insects in banana plantations in the French West Indies. Due to its persistence in the environment, CLD has contaminated the soils where it has been spread, as well as the waters, and is still present in them. The objective of our study was to evaluate the effects of chronic exposure to environmentally relevant CLD concentrations in an animal model, the freshwater hydra (Hydra circumcincta). In a multi-marker approach, we have studied the expression of some target stress genes, the morphology, and the asexual reproduction rates. Our data showed that exposure to low concentrations of chlordecone leads to (i) a modulation of the expression of target genes involved in oxidative stress, detoxification, and neurobiological processes, and (ii) morphological damages and asexual reproduction impairment. We have observed non-monotonic dose-response curves, which agree with endocrine-disrupting chemical effects. Thus, “U-shaped” dose-response curves were observed for SOD, GRed, Hym355, and potentially GST gene expressions; inverted “U-shaped” curves for GPx and CYP1A gene expressions and reproductive rates; and a biphasic dose-response curve for morphological damages. Therefore, in the range of environmental concentrations tested, very low concentrations of CLD can produce equally or more important deleterious effects than higher ones. Finally, to our knowledge, this study is the first one to fill the lack of knowledge concerning the effects of CLD in Hydra circumcincta and confirms that this diploblastic organism is a pertinent freshwater model in the risk assessment.

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Correspondence to Pierre-Henri Villard.

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Colpaert, R., Villard, P., de Jong, L. et al. Multi-scale impact of chronic exposure to environmental concentrations of chlordecone in freshwater cnidarian, Hydra circumcincta. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Hydra circumcincta
  • Chlordecone
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals
  • Non-monotonic dose-response curves
  • Freshwater risk assessment
  • Pesticides
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Persistent organic pollutant