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Environ Anal Health Toxicol > Volume 37:2022 > Article
Environmental Analysis Health and Toxicology 2022;37(3):e2022023-0. doi: https://doi.org/10.5620/eaht.2022023
Evaluation of female masculinization in Pomacea canaliculata (Caenogastropoda, Ampullariidae) induced by tributyltin, heavy metals, and uranium in culture water
Maximiliano Giraud-Billoud1,2,3 , Alejandra Daniela Campoy-Diaz1,2,3 , Emilio Mansilla Muñoz4 , Israel Aníbal Vega1,2,5
1IHEM, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, CONICET, Casilla de Correo 33, 5500-Mendoza, Argentina
2Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Instituto de Fisiología, Casilla de Correo 33, 5500-Mendoza, Argentina
3Universidad Nacional de Villa Mercedes, Departamento de Ciencias Básicas, Escuela de Ciencias de la Salud-Medicina, 5730-San Luis, Argentina
4Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, 5507-Mendoza, Argentina
5Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Biología, Casilla de Correo 33, 5500-Mendoza, Argentina
Corresponding Author: Maximiliano Giraud-Billoud ,Email: mgiraudbilloud@gmail.com
Received: July 6, 2022;  Accepted: August 8, 2022.
All female Pomacea canaliculata develop a small, male-like copulatory apparatus a few days after birth, which growths slowly until sexual maturity, and even further in older age. Previous studies have found trace elements like mercury (Hg), arsenic (As) and uranium (U) in tap water used for snail culture, and that these elements were accumulated in snail tissues. Here, we test whether the presence of these metals at maximum allowed concentrations (Environmental Protection Agency - EPA) in aquarium water could affect the development of the copulatory apparatus in mature females. Females of different ages were used as controls, grown in reconstituted metal-free water with or without the addition of Hg, As and U, as well as tributyltin (TBT), a compound used as masculinizing agent. Six and seven months old females cultured in tap water showed a longer penis and penile sheath, and a greater overall development of the copulatory apparatus, measured by an index (DI), as compared with same-age females cultured in reconstituted water. Moreover, when females were exposed to Hg, As or U at the maximum contaminant levels for human consumption allowed by EPA regulations, there was no further development of the copulatory apparatus, while there was a clearly positive effect in TBT-exposed females. This study confirms the masculinizing effect of organotin compounds on female copulatory apparatus and discusses the usefulness of the development of these organs as a bioindicator of environmental pollution.
Keywords: Imposex, Gastropoda, environmental pollutants, bioindicators, masculinization
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