Pollution and Reproductive Damage
Hormonally active compounds (pesticides, herbicides,§bacterial agents, and synthetic hormones) continue to§be released into the environment. These compounds§are widely spread, highly persistent, bioavailable,§and most importantly present at physiologically§relevant concentrations. Many aquatic and§terrestrial populations have exhibited signs of§distress or have been severely impacted because of§exposure to such pollutants. Apoptosis is a§well-conserved hormonally controlled physiological§pathway that is highly sensitive to exposure to§pollutants and xenobiotics. Endocrine active§compounds can cause disturbances in hormonal control§of apoptosis and alter development or maintenance of§reproductive tissue in growing or reproductively§mature individual. These changes can cause reduced§reproductive capacity in the exposed individual. Here§we offer first evidence that petrochemical§contaminants induce apoptosis in highly proliferating§reproductive, hematopoietic, and immune (thymus, bone§marrow, and spleen) tissue of small mammals living on§contaminated sites; we also show that aquatic§pollution effects on reproductive fitness can be§monitored using in vitro cultures of fish eggs.