Imidacloprid induces morphological and molecular damages on testis of lizard (Podarcis sicula)

Abstract

The insecticide imidacloprid was evaluated under laboratory conditions in the adult male Italian wall lizards (Podarcis sicula) to assess its potential toxicity. By an acute oral test, LD50 was 503.76 mg/kg. Changes in spermatogenesis, plasma sex hormone levels and androgen and oestrogen receptor mRNAs were analysed by subchronic test and simulated environmental exposure. 15-days subchronic test, in which lizards were orally dosed on alternate days at 0, 10, 50, 100 mg/kg bw, showed a dose-dependent changes of testicular architecture and an increase of apoptotic processes. In a 30-days simulated environmental exposure spermatogenesis was arrested at secondary spermatocyte level and only few primary spermatocytes were TUNEL-positive. In all experimental groups imidacloprid was able to decrease both the level of sex hormones and the steroid receptor mRNAs. The results demonstrate that imidacloprid affects reproduction function of male lizards therefore precautions must be taken to minimize the harmful effects of this compound.

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Acknowledgments

The author wish to thank Mr. Mark Walters for linguistic revision. This work was supported by intramural funds of Biology Department to A.C.

Conflict of interest

The author declare they have no competing interests, be it financial, personal or professional.

Ethical standards

All animals were captured with the authorization of 06/01/2000 No. SCN/2D/2000/9213 of the Italian Ministry of the Environment. The experiments were carried out in compliance with the ethical provisions enforced by the European Union and authorized by the National Committee of the Italian Ministry of Health on in vivo experimentation ( Dept. for Veterinary Public Health, Nutrition and Food Safety). All efforts were made to avoid animal suffering and to minimize the number of specimens used. The animals were maintained in accordance with the institutional guidelines for care and use of laboratory animals.

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Correspondence to Anna Cardone.

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This paper is dedicated to the memory of Giuseppe Falcone, an unforgettable friend who died prematurely, in recognition of his devotion to the pursuit of perfection in photography and digital art-work.

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Cardone, A. Imidacloprid induces morphological and molecular damages on testis of lizard (Podarcis sicula). Ecotoxicology 24, 94–105 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-014-1361-0

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Keywords

  • Imidacloprid
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Sex steroid hormones
  • Androgen and oestrogen Receptor mRNAs
  • Male lizard