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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 29;8(7):e70112. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070112. Print 2013.

Reproductive effects of two neonicotinoid insecticides on mouse sperm function and early embryonic development in vitro.

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  • 1Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital, Institute of Reproduction & Development, Fudan University, Shanghai, P. R. of China.

Abstract

Acetamiprid (ACE) and imidacloprid (IMI) are two major members in the family of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are synthesized with a higher selectivity to insects. The present study determined and compared in vitro effects of ACE, IMI and nicotine on mammalian reproduction by using an integrated testing strategy for reproductive toxicology, which covered sperm quality, sperm penetration into oocytes and preimplantation embryonic development. Direct chemical exposure (500 µM or 5 mM) on spermatozoa during capacitation was performed, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, zygotes and 2-cell embryos were respectively incubated with chemical-supplemented medium until blastocyst formation to evaluate the reproductive toxicity of these chemicals and monitor the stages mainly affected. Generally, treatment of 500 µM or 5 mM chemicals for 30 min did not change sperm motility and DNA integrity significantly but the fertilization ability in in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, indicating that IVF process could detect and distinguish subtle effect of spermatozoa exposed to different chemicals. Culture experiment in the presence of chemicals in medium showed that fertilization process and zygotes are adversely affected by direct exposure of chemicals (P<0.05), in an order of nicotine>IMI>ACE, whereas developmental progression of 2-cell stage embryos was similar to controls (P>0.05). These findings unveiled the hazardous effects of neonicotinoid pesticides exposure on mammalian sperm fertilization ability as well as embryonic development, raising the concerns that neonicotinoid pesticides may pose reproductive risks on human reproductive health, especially in professional populations.

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