Environmental science and pollution research international

Suppressive effects of long-term exposure to P-nitrophenol on gonadal development, hormonal profile with disruption of tissue integrity, and activation of caspase-3 in male Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).

PMID 25772865


P-Nitrophenol (PNP) is considered to be one of nitrophenol derivatives of diesel exhaust particles. PNP is a major metabolite of some organophosphorus compounds. PNP is a persistent organic pollutant as well as one of endocrine-disrupting compounds. Consequently, bioaccumulation of PNP potentiates toxicity. The objectives of the current study were to assess in vivo adverse effects of long-term low doses of PNP exposure on reproductive system during development stage. Twenty-eight-day-old male Japanese quails were orally administered different doses of PNP (0, 0.01, 0.1, 1 mg/kg body weight) daily for 2.5 months. Testicular histopathology, hormones, caspase-3 (CASP3), and claudin-1 (CLDN1) tight junction protein, as well as plasma hormones were analyzed. The results revealed that long-term PNP exposure caused testicular histopathological changes such as vacuolation of spermatogenic cell and spermatocyte with significant testicular and cloacal gland atrophy. PNP activated CASP3 enzyme that is an apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase. Besides, it disrupted the expression of CLDN1. Furthermore, a substantial decrease in plasma concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone was observed after 2 and 2.5 months in the PNP-treated groups. Meanwhile, the pituitary LH did not significantly change. Site of action of PNP may be peripheral on testicular development and/or centrally on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis through reduction of pulsatile secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone. Consequently, it may reduce the sensitivity of the anterior pituitary gland to secrete LH. In conclusion, PNP induced profound endocrine disruption in the form of hormonal imbalance, induction of CASP3, and disruption of CLDN1 expression in the testis. Hence, it may hinder the reproductive processes.