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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 15;42(14):5354-60.

Natural arsenic contaminated diets perturb reproduction in fish.

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King's College London, Nutritional Sciences Division, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London.


The toxicological effect of natural diets elevated in metals on reproduction in fish is poorly understood. The reproductive output of zebrafish fed the polychaete Nereis diversicolor collected from a metal-impacted estuary, Restronguet Creek, Cornwall, UK, was compared to fish fed N. diversicolor collected from a nonmetal impacted estuary, Blackwater, Essex, UK. Fish fed the metal laden N. diversicolorfor 68 days showed reduced reproductive output, characterized by reduced cumulative egg production (47%), cumulative number of spawns (30%), as well as reduced average number of eggs produced per spawn and % hatch rate. The mRNA transcript levels of the egg-yolk protein vitellogenin was also reduced 1.5 fold in the livers of female fish fed metal-laden N. diversicolor. No difference was seen between the lipid, protein, or moisture content of the two diets and no difference in growth was seen between the two fish populations. The Restronguet Creek polychaetes have elevated arsenic, cadmium, copper, zinc, lead, and silver body burdens, but the only element found to accumulate in the tissues of zebrafish fed this diet was As. The As in these N. diversicolor was found to be predominantly potentially toxic inorganic As species, 58% of total As content, which is unusual for aquatic organisms where arsenic is typically biotransformed into less toxic organoarsenical compounds. These results demonstrate that reproduction in fish is a sensitive target of exposure to a natural diet contaminated with As and this exposure route could be of significance to the health of fish populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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