To estimate the influence of water contaminants on fish reproduction in the Mekong Delta area, we sampled cultivated male catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus), investigated testicular development, and measured persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and trace element levels in muscle and liver, respectively. Various testes sizes were observed although sampling took place during a short period. Histological analysis revealed that all developmental stages of germ cells were observed in catfish with large testis, whereas only necrotic spermatogonia but no other germ cells were observed in catfish with small testis. In small testis, furthermore, vacuolization and hypertrophy of Sertoli cells were observed. Measurement of POPs in muscle and trace elements in liver demonstrated that there were negative correlations between GSI and the concentrations of Pb, Mo, Rb and As. To clarify possible direct effects of Pb, Mo, Rb and As on spermatogenesis in fish, we investigated the effects of these trace elements on spermatogenesis using in vitro testicular organ culture of Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). Treatment with each of the trace elements alone did not affect spermatogenesis. However, treatment with 10-7M of Pb, 10-5and 10-4M of Mo, 10-5-10-3M of Rb or 10-5M of As inhibited the spermatogenesis induced by 11-ketotestosterone (11KT). Furthermore, treatment with 10-4M of As in combination with 11KT caused necrosis of testicular fragments. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that Pb, Mo, Rb and As can exert inhibitory effects on spermatogenesis in catfish inhabiting the Mekong Delta area. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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