Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and Insects, Institute of Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) are broadly used to control pests and have been widely detected in aquatic environments, prompting concern over its risk to the health of non-target organisms. The present study evaluated whether long-term (60 d) exposure to low doses (0, 20, 100, and 500 ng/L) of cis-BF enantiomers (1S-cis-BF and 1R-cis-BF) could cause reproductive endocrine disturbance to zebrafish. Exposure to 1S-cis-BF has stronger reproductive impairment effect than 1R-enantiomer, indicating that the enantioselectivity of cis-BF on fish reproduction. Significant decrease of cumulative spawning of zebrafish was observed as a result of cis-BF exposure. And the retardations of testis and ovaries development found in histopathological section were suggested to be important cause for the decreased fecundity. Cis-BF decreased the total motility of sperm but did not affect sperm density. Relatively high levels of cis-BF detected in the gonads of males and females may directly impair gametogenesis. In addition, alterations in the expression of key genes (cyp17, cyp19a and 17β-hsd) associated with reproductive endocrine pathways were correlated well with the significant changes in sex hormone contents (E2 and T) and these results may relate to gonadal development and maturation of germ cells in females or/and males which were suspected to be a likely underlying mechanism. Furthermore, the reduction of quality of F1 embryo derived from the unexposed females and exposed males (UE♀ × E♂) demonstrated that male exposure had greater adverse effects on offspring. Our results indicate that long term, low dose exposure to cis-BF can enantioselectively impair the reproduction system of fish, and induce toxicity related abnormalities in non-exposed offspring. This study has important implications for environmental risk assessment of chiral pesticides that are concurrently present in aquatic systems.