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Sperm quality biomarkers complement reproductive and endocrine parameters in investigating environmental contaminants in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area

April 2, 2018

Lake Mead National Recreational Area (LMNRA) serves as critical habitat for several federally listed species and supplies water for municipal, domestic, and agricultural use in the Southwestern U.S. Contaminant sources and concentrations vary among the sub-basins within LMNRA. To investigate whether exposure to environmental contaminants is associated with alterations in male common carp (Cyprinus carpio) gamete quality and endocrine- and reproductive parameters, data were collected among sub-basins over 7 years (1999–2006). Endpoints included sperm quality parameters of motility, viability, mitochondrial membrane potential, count, morphology, and DNA fragmentation; plasma components were vitellogenin (VTG), 17ß-estradiol, 11-keto-testosterone, triiodothyronine, and thyroxine. Fish condition factor, gonadosomatic index, and gonadal histology parameters were also measured. Diminished biomarker effects were noted in 2006, and sub-basin differences were indicated by the irregular occurrences of contaminants and by several associations between chemicals (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, hexachlorobenzene, galaxolide, and methyl triclosan) and biomarkers (e.g., plasma thyroxine, sperm motility and DNA fragmentation). By 2006, sex steroid hormone and VTG levels decreased with subsequent reduced endocrine disrupting effects. The sperm quality bioassays developed and applied with carp complemented endocrine and reproductive data, and can be adapted for use with other species.