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Aquat Toxicol. 2014 Sep;154:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2014.04.018. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

Effects of depleted uranium on the reproductive success and F1 generation survival of zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PRP-ENV/SERIS/LECO, Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance 13115, France.
Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques (INERIS), Unité d'évaluation des risques écotoxicologiques, BP2, 60550 Verneuil-en-Halatte, France.
Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PRP-ENV/SERIS/LECO, Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance 13115, France. Electronic address:


Despite the well-characterized occurrence of uranium (U) in the aquatic environment, very little is known about the chronic exposure of fish to low levels of U and its potential effect on reproduction. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the effects of environmental concentrations of depleted U on the reproductive output of zebrafish (Danio rerio) and on survival and development of the F1 embryo-larvae following parental exposure to U. For that purpose, sexually mature male and female zebrafish were exposed to 20 and 250 μg/L of U for 14 days and allowed to reproduce in clean water during a further 14-day period. At all sampling times, whole-body vitellogenin concentrations and gonad histology were analyzed to investigate the effects of U exposure on these reproductive endpoints. In addition, accumulation of U in the gonads and its genotoxic effect on male and female gonad cells were quantified. The results showed that U strongly affected the capability of fish to reproduce and to generate viable individuals as evidenced by the inhibition of egg production and the increased rate of mortality of the F1 embryos. Interestingly, U exposure resulted in decreased circulating concentrations of vitellogenin in females. Increased concentrations of U were observed in gonads and eggs, which were most likely responsible for the genotoxic effects seen in fish gonads and in embryos exposed maternally to U. Altogether, these findings highlight the negative effect of environmentally relevant concentrations of U which alter the reproductive capability of fish and impair the genetic integrity of F1 embryos raising further concern regarding its effect at the population level.


Genotoxicity; Parental exposure; Reproduction; Uranium; Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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