Life-time exposure to waterborne copper IV: Sperm quality parameters are negatively affected in the killifish Poecilia vivipara
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In previous studies, we have shown that copper (Cu) is significantly accumulated in various tissues of killifish Poecilia vivipara following chronic exposure. Also, we showed that chronic metal exposure disrupted energy production and growth in this species. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate if chronic exposure to this metal could also affect reproductive parameters of P. vivipara males (sperm quality). In order to test that, newborn (<24 h-old) fish were exposed to two concentrations of waterborne Cu (5 and 9 μg/L) for 345 days. After exposure, fish were euthanized and the testes were collected for sperm analysis. We could observe that exposed animals had reduced sperm motility and period of motility. Also, the sperm of exposed fish had reduced plasma membrane integrity, mitochondrial functionality and DNA integrity when compared to sperm of control animals. It is suggested that the well-known association of Cu with elevated oxidative damage, endocrine disruption and energetic disturbance are involved with the observed outcomes. The results obtained in the present study show that chronic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of waterborne Cu caused reductions in all parameters used to evaluate sperm quality. Therefore, it is concluded that life-time exposure to this metal may disrupt fish reproduction and negatively affect the maintenance of its populations.
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