Effects of Experimental Lead Exposure on Testis of the Chestnut Capped Blackbird Chrysomus ruficapillus
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Lead (Pb) effects on testis histology, as well as sperm quality and oxidative status were evaluated in male Chestnut Capped Blackbird (Chrysomus ruficapillus). Wild blackbirds were captured, immediately sampled (field group) or kept in captivity and treated with a single intraperitoneal injection of saline solution (control) or saline solution with Pb acetate (50 or 100 mg/kg Pb). Seven days after injection, whole blood, ductus deferens and testis samples were collected. Increased Pb concentrations were observed in whole blood and testis of Pb-exposed blackbirds with respect to those from field and control blackbirds. Sperm cells of Pb-exposed blackbirds showed loss of membrane integrity, mitochondrial functionality, and DNA integrity. Also, oxidative damage was observed in testis of blackbirds injected with 100 mg/kg Pb. These findings indicate that Pb is accumulated in testis of C. ruficapillus, inducing severe morphological and biochemical injury that can compromise the reproductive performance of male blackbirds. Although the exposure scenario (Pb acetate, high dosage and intraperitoneal injection) tested in the present study would likely not occur in the wild, it was adequate to show potential and relevant toxic effects of Pb in wild birds.
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