Environmentally relevant atrazine exposures cause DNA damage in cells of the lateral antennules of crayfish (Faxonius virilis).


Biology Department, University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit, MI, 48221, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


The herbicide atrazine is heavily applied in agricultural areas in the Midwestern United States and can run-off and seep into surrounding aquatic habitats where concentrations can reach over 300 ppb. It is known that acute exposures to 80 ppb atrazine cause lasting deficiencies in the chemoreception of food and mate odors. Since atrazine impairs chemosensory responses, the goal of this study was to determine the effect of atrazine on cells, including olfactory sensory neurons, located in the lateral antennules of crayfish. In this experiment, we treated crayfish for 10 days with ecologically relevant concentrations of 0, 10, 40, 80, 100 and 300 ppb (μg L-1) of atrazine. Following treatments, the distal portion of the lateral antennules was cryosectioned. We used a TdT mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay to determine if any cells had DNA damage and may be thus undergoing apoptosis. We found that as atrazine concentrations increase above 10 ppb, the number of TUNEL-positive cells, visualized in the lateral antennules, significantly increases. Our data show that atrazine exposure causes DNA damage in cells of the lateral antennules, including olfactory sensory neurons, thus leading to impairments in chemosensory abilities. Because crayfish rely heavily on chemoreception for survival, changes in their ability to perceive odors following atrazine exposure may have detrimental effects on population size.


Atrazine,Chemoreception,Crayfish,DNA damage,Lateral antennules,TUNEL,

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