Aluminum bioconcentration in female Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) and the effects on pituitary gonadotropins
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In this study, we measured aluminum (Al) bioconcentration in the brain, ovaries, and liver of Oreochromis niloticus females, and analyzed the effects of exposure to Al and acidic pH on the gene expression of follicle-stimulating hormone (βfsh) and luteinizing hormone (βlh) in these animals. Mature females were divided into 4 groups, thus being maintained for 96 h in one of the following conditions: control at neutral pH (Ctr); Al at neutral pH (Al); acidic pH (Ac), and Al at acidic pH (Al-Ac). pH alone did not influence Al bioconcentration in the brain. The animals from the Al-Ac group bioconcentrated more Al in the ovaries than those from the Al group, while no differences were observed in the liver. Aluminum bioconcentration was higher in the brain than in the liver and ovaries in Al-exposed animals (Al and Al-Ac), and higher in the brain than in the ovaries in the Ctr and Ac groups. The liver bioconcentrates more Al than the ovaries in the females from the Ctr and Ac groups. Aluminum and/or acidic pH did not alter βfsh gene expression, while βlh gene expression decreased in females from the Al group. Aluminum acted as an endocrine disruptor, suggesting deleterious effects in reproduction that could result in ovulation failure. Aluminum can act directly and/or indirectly in the pituitary, affecting ovarian steroidogenesis and altering the reproductive endocrine axis of mature O. niloticus females in an acute period of exposure.
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