Atrazine, a widely use herbicide, has been classified as a potential endocrine disruptor, especially for freshwater species. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that atrazine can affect reproduction in crayfish through dysregulation of vitellogenin expression and hormone synthesis. Adult female crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) were exposed during one month to atrazine at concentrations of either 1 or 5 mg/L. At the end of the exposure, ovaries, hepatopancreas, and hemolymph samples were harvested for analysis of vitellogenin expression and steroid hormone levels. Ovarian tissue was also sampled for both biochemical and histological analyses. Our results show that atrazine-exposed crayfish had a lower expression of vitellogenin in the ovary and hepatopancreas, as well as smaller oocytes, and reduced vitellogenin content in the ovary. Despite these effects, circulating levels of estradiol increased in females exposed to 5 mg/L of atrazine, showing that the inhibiting effect of atrazine on vitellogenin production was not related to a lower secretion of sexual steroids. Instead, some early stimulating effects of estradiol on vitellogenesis could have occurred, particularly in the hepatopancreas. On the other hand, atrazine caused a higher metabolic effort, in terms of lactate production, presumably triggered to provide the energy needed to face the unspecific stress produced by the herbicide. Lipid peroxidation was not affected by atrazine, but glutathione levels were significantly increased.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis