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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2008 Feb;27(2):367-74. doi: 10.1897/07-176R1.1.

Early life-stage toxicity test for copper pyrithione and induction of skeletal anomaly in a teleost, the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus).

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National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, Fisheries Research Agency, Hiroshima, Japan.


We used a teleost fish, the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), to conduct early life-stage toxicity testing for copper pyrithione (CuPT). Fertilized mummichog eggs were exposed to CuPT at various concentrations for 50 d under continuous flow-through conditions. Hatchability, survival, growth, and morphologic abnormalities were measured. Hatchability did not differ significantly between any experimental group and control groups. Survival and growth were significantly reduced at 50 d in the groups exposed to 2 or 4 microg/L CuPT. During the test, morphologic abnormalities, such as vertebral deformity and formation of inflammatory masses in the lateral muscles, occurred in fish exposed to CuPT. Light and electron microscopic studies indicated that muscle dysfunction played a role in the vertebral deformity and revealed that the inflammatory mass was composed mainly of macrophages and necrotic myocytes. We consider that macrophages infiltrated and phagocytized necrotic cells, thus forming the inflammatory mass. In addition, acetylcholinesterase activity was markedly decreased in the 2- and 4-microg/L exposure groups, suggesting the skeletal deformity was due to mechanisms similar to those proposed for organophosphorous pesticide exposure.

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