Teratogenic Effects of 4-Nonylphenol on Early Embryonic and Larval Development of the Catfish Heteropneustes fossilis.
Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2012 Dec 11. Epub 2012 Dec 11. PMID: 23229197
Department of Zoology, Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, 221005, India.
Alkylphenol polyethoxylates (APEs), which are widely used in detergents, paints, herbicides, insecticides, and in many other formulations, have been widely detected in aquatic environments. 4-Nonylphenol (NP) is an important APE detected at microgram levels per litre (0.1-336 μg/L) in water. The objective of the present study was to evaluate NP's toxic effects at low and high sublethal concentrations (0.1 and 1 μg/L) on embryonic development of the catfish Heteropneustes fossilis at different time intervals. The data show that fertilization rate was decreased and cleavage and blastula were severely affected leading to complete mortality of embryos. NP exposure resulted in various body malformations in larvae, such as vertebral deformations, e.g., fin blistering/necrosis, axial deformities (lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis) of the spine in the abdominal and caudal region, tail curved completely backward, shortened body, severe spinal and yolk sac malformations, C-shaped severe spinal curvature, cranial malformation with undeveloped head, and failure of eye development. The level of body malformations increased with the concentration and exposure time. After 72 h of exposure, all larvae were dead at both concentrations. Scanning electron microscope study showed that epidermal cells (keratinocytes) were severely damaged in both low- and high-dose treatments throughout development, leading to development of numerous depressions representing sinking holes on the skin. Mucous glands increased significantly in treatment groups compared with control groups. The present study highlights the severe teratogenic effects of NP. The prevalence of the contaminant, if not checked, can lead to decreased population and ultimate disappearance of the species.