Is there a causal association between genotoxicity and the imposex effect?

  • There is a growing body of evidence that indicates common environmental pollutants are capable of disrupting reproductive and developmental processes by interfering with the actions of endogenous hormones. Many reports of endocrine disruption describe changes in the normal development of organs and tissues that are consistent with genetic damage, and recent studies confirm that many chemicals classified to have hormone-modulating effects also possess carcinogenic and mutagenic potential. To date, however, there have been no conclusive examples linking genetic damage with perturbation of endocrine function and adverse effects in vivo. Here, we provide the first evidence of DNA damage associated with the development of imposex (the masculinization of female gastropods considered to be the result of alterations to endocrine-mediated pathways) in the dog-whelk Nucella lapillus. Animals (n = 257) that displayed various stages of tributyltin (TBT)-induced imposex were collected from sites in southwest England, and their imposex status was determined by physical examination. Linear regression analysis revealed a very strong relationship (correlation coefficient of 0.935, p < 0.0001) between the degree of imposex and the extent of DNA damage (micronucleus formation) in hemocytes. Moreover, histological examination of a larger number of dog-whelks collected from sites throughout Europe confirmed the presence of hyperplastic growths, primarily on the vas deferens and penis in both TBT-exposed male snails and in females that exhibited imposex. A strong association was found between TBT body burden and the prevalence of abnormal growths, thereby providing compelling evidence to support the hypothesis that environmental chemicals that affect reproductive processes do so partly through DNA damage pathways.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Josephine A. Hagger, Michael H. Depledge, Jörg OehlmannORCiDGND, Susan Jobling, Tamara S. Galloway
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Environmental health perspectives
Publisher:National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Place of publication:Research Triangle Park, N.C. [u. a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2007/06/13
Year of first Publication:2005
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2007/06/13
Tag:Nucella lapillus; ecotoxicology; endocrine disruption; genotoxicity; imposex; micronucleus; tributyltin
Issue:Supplement 1
Page Number:7
First Page:20
Last Page:26
Copyright: This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI
Source:Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Supplement 1, S. 20–26. - doi: 10.1289/ehp.8048. - Auch in: The ecological relevance of chemically induced endocrine disruption in wildlife
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0