Environmental health and toxicology

Histological observation on unique phenotypes of malformation induced in Xenopus tropicalis larvae by tributyltin

Junqi Liu , Qinzhen Cao , Jing Yuan , Xiaoli Zhang , Lin Yu , Huahong Shi


Received January 22, 2011,Revised March 21, 2011, Accepted , Available online February 10, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 195-202

Tributyltin (TBT), a biocide used in antifouling paints, has shown strong teratogenic effects on Xenopus tropicalis embryos at environmentally relevant concentrations. X. tropicalis embryos were exposed to 50, 100 and 200 ng/L tributyltin chloride for 72 hr. The histological changes were further observed on abnormal eyes, enlarged trunks, enlarged proctodaeums and absence of fins induced by TBT. The lens and the retinal layers of abnormal eyes were slightly or barely differentiated, and that the pigment epithelium was neither continuous nor smooth. The abdomens were full of undifferentiated gut tissue with yolk-rich inclusions in the tadpoles with enlarged trunks. The proctodaeums formed a bump-like or columnar structure. The mass of yolk-rich cells occupied the lumen, blocked the opening and even turned inside out of the proctodaeum. Both the ventral and dorsal fins in trunks and tails became narrow or even disappeared totally. Our results suggest that great changes of histology took place corresponding to the unique phenotypes. The gut tissue was poorly differentiated, which led to the failed elongation of the guts and subsequently the enlarged trunks. The enlarged proctodaeums were due to the undifferentiation of inner layer, the expansion of outer epidermal part and the absence of fins around them. In brief, the histological observations provided insights into the reason of the unique external malformations in some degree.

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