Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Effects of environmentally relevant sub-chronic atrazine concentrations on African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) survival, growth and male gonad development.

PMID 29602044


Sub-chronic toxicity of environmentally relevant atrazine concentrations on exposed tadpoles and adult male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) was evaluated in a quality controlled laboratory for 90 days. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of atrazine on the survival, growth and gonad development of African clawed frogs. After exposure of tadpoles to atrazine concentrations of 0 (control), 0.01, 200 and 500 μg L-1 in water, mortality rates of 0, 0, 3.3 and 70% respectively were recorded for the 90 day exposure period. Morphometry showed significantly reduced tadpole mass in the 500 μg L-1 atrazine exposed tadpoles (p < 0.05). Light microscopy on testes of adult frogs exposed to the same atrazine concentrations using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Van Gieson staining techniques revealed gonadal atrophy, disruption of germ cell lines, seminiferous tubule structure damage and formation of extensive connective tissue around seminiferous tubules of frogs exposed to 200 μg L-1 and 500 μg L-1 atrazine concentrations. Ultrastructural analysis of the cellular organelles using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed significant amounts of damaged mitochondria in testosterone producing Leydig cells as well as Sertoli cells. Biochemical analysis revealed reduced serum testosterone levels in adult frogs at all exposure levels as well as presence of six atrazine metabolites in frog serum and liver. The results indicate that atrazine concentrations greater than the calculated LC50 of 343.7 μg L-1 cause significant mortality in tadpoles, while concentrations ≥200 μg L-1 adversely affect reproductive health of adult frogs and development of tadpoles sub-chronically exposed to atrazine.