Ecotoxicological evaluation of tributyltin toxicity to the equilateral venus clam,Gomphina veneriformis(Bivalvia: Veneridae)

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Abstract

Tributyltin (TBT) is the most common pesticide in marine and freshwater environments. To evaluate the potential ecological risk posed by TBT, we measured biological responses such as growth rate, gonad index, sex ratio, the percentage of intersex gonads, filtration rate, and gill abnormalities in the equilateral venus clam (Gomphina veneriformis). Additionally, the biochemical and molecular responses were evaluated in G. veneriformis exposed to various concentrations of TBT. The growth of G. veneriformis was significantly delayed in a dose-dependent manner after exposure to all tested TBT concentrations. After TBT was administered to G. veneriformis, the gonad index decreased and the sex balance was altered. The percentage of intersex gonads also increased significantly in treated females, whereas no intersex gonads were detected in the solvent control group. Additionally, intersex gonads were detected in male G. veneriformis specimens exposed to relatively high TBT concentrations (20 μg L−1). The filtration rate was also reduced in a dose-dependent manner in TBT-exposed G. veneriformis. We also noted abnormal gill morphology in TBT-exposed G. veneriformis. Furthermore, increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed in TBT-exposed G. veneriformis clams, regardless of dosage. Vitellogenin gene expression also increased significantly in a dose-dependent manner in G. veneriformis exposed to TBT. These results provide valuable information regarding our understanding of the toxicology of TBT in G. veneriformis. Moreover, the responses of biological and molecular factors could be utilized as information for risk assessments and marine monitoring of TBT toxicity.

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