Exposure to a Brazilian pulp mill effluent impacts the testis and liver in the zebrafish Journal Articles uri icon

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  • While many studies have shown that pulp mill effluents can affect ovarian physiology in fish, far fewer studies have considered the effects in males. We conducted a lab study to examine the effects of effluent from a Brazilian pulp and paper mill on hepatic and testicular morphology and various aspects of testicular physiology in the zebrafish Danio rerio. Males were exposed to lab water (control) or 4% effluent for 14 days. Effluent exposure did not affect testis size as measured by the gonadosomatic index, but contributed to morphological changes in the seminiferous tubules. The number of cysts with histopathological changes was elevated in effluent-exposed fish and the number of cysts containing spermatids was significantly reduced. The testis of effluent exposed fish had reduced levels of lactate, elevated lactate dehydrogenase activity, increased levels of reactive oxygen species and reduced levels of phosphorylated P38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (pP38 MAPK). Separate studies showed that the addition of lactate to testicular tissue incubated in vitro increased the activation of P38 MAPK. Effluent exposure also increased vacuolization, necrosis, apoptosis, hyperemia, and fat infiltration of the hepatocytes. Collectively, we provide evidence of short term effects of pulp mill effluent on testicular and hepatic physiology and biochemistry in the zebrafish.


  • Castro, Allisson Jhonatan Gomes
  • Baptista, Ivana Eunice
  • de Moura, Kieiv Resende Sousa
  • Padilha, Fernanda
  • Tonietto, Juliana
  • de Souza, Ariane Zamoner Pacheco
  • Soares, Carlos Henrique Lemos
  • Silva, Fátima Regina Mena Barreto
  • Van Der Kraak, Glen

publication date

  • April 2018

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