Molecular mechanism of mercury-induced reproductive impairments in banded gourami, Trichogaster fasciata
Abstract Mercury is one of the key pollutants responsible for the degradation of natural aquatic ecosystems. Among the different forms of mercury that exist in the environment, mercuric chloride (HgCl 2 ) is the dominant pollutant for freshwater environments as it is used as an ingredient in antiseptics, disinfectants and preservatives, insecticides, batteries and in metallurgical and photographic operations. Pollutant may exert their action on organisms or populations by affecting their normal endocrine function as well as reproduction. Thus, the present study tried to understand the effect of mercuric chloride (HgCl 2 ) on reproductive function and to decipher the molecular mechanism of Hg-induced reproductive impairments of female Trichogaster fasciata . Both in vivo and in vitro experiments were performed by using ecologically relevant doses of HgCl 2 and the resulting effects on follicular development, steroidogenic potentiality, aromatase activity, aromatase gene expression and steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) expression pattern were analysed. In vivo exposure to HgCl 2 caused reproductive impairments as shown by the inhibitory role of HgCl 2 on follicular development, steroid biosynthesis and SF-1 activity. In vitro experiments revealed that aromatase activity, steroidogenesis, aromatase and SF-1 expression were blocked by HgCl 2 . The results obtained from this study contribute to understand the molecular mechanism of HgCl 2 -induced reproductive impairment of T. fasciata . Highlights Ecologically relevant doses of mercuric chloride acts as EDC in fish. HgCl 2 inhibits follicular development, steroidogenesis, aromatase activity and SF-1. Removal of mercury pollution regenerates the reproductive potentiality in T. fasciata . To conserve fish diversity, mitigation of pollution is the easiest way.
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