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J Vet Med Sci. 2013;75(6):755-60. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Effects of exposure to clothianidin on the reproductive system of male quails.

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Laboratory of Molecular Morphology, Department of Animal Science, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Kobe, Hyogo 657-8501, Japan.


Clothianidin (CTD) is a neonicotinoid developed in the 1990s as an insecticide having selective toxicity, but it was later found to cause reproductive abnormalities in rats through oxidative stress. There is an attempt to preserve endangered animals, including the Japanese crested ibis, in Japan. However, there is a concern that neonicotinoid affects the reproduction of this bird, since it is used in its habitat. CTD toxicity in the birds is poorly understood, so we investigated whether or not the daily oral administration of CTD has any deleterious effects on the reproductive functions of mature male quails as experimental animals. The animals were randomly divided into four groups of 6 or 7 quails each, treated orally with 0, 0.02, 1 or 50 mg CTD/kg body weight (Control, CTD0.02, CTD1 and CTD50). After that the males bred with untreated females to estimate the egg weights, and rates of fertilization and normal development, the testes, liver and spleen were examined histologically. Vacuolization and the number of germ cells having fragmented DNA in seminiferous tubules, and the number and size of vacuoles in hepatocytes increased dose-dependently. There were no significant differences in egg weights and fertilization rates between the groups, but some eggs of the CTD1 and CTD50 groups failed to develop, and embryonic length decreased dose-dependently. Thus, it was found that CTD affected the reproduction of the male quail through the fragmentation of germ cells and the inhibition or delay of embryonic development.

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