Nematode communities in the Sai Gon River harbors in relation to tributyltin concentrations
Effects of a one-generation exposure to a natural estrogen, 17beta-estradiol (E2), and environmental pollutants such as bisphenol A (BPA) and tributyltin chloride (TBTCL) on the number of germ cells were investigated in the hermaphrodite Caenorhabditis elegans. The eggs of gravid adult worms isolated by alkaline hypochlorite treatment were seeded on a test chemical-containing NGM (nematode growth medium) agar plate without cholesterol. After incubation for 6 days at 16 degrees C, the germ cells of adult worms were stained with 4', 6-diamino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI). The staining procedure was completed within one hour and the stained germ cells were counted under a fluorescence microscope without dissection. The number of germ cells in the worms treated with E2 (10(-10)-10(-6) M) and BPA (10(-9)-10 (-5) M) was significantly increased. Maximal increases were observed at 10(-8) M E2 (156 +/- 15.3% of control) and 10(-5) M BPA (168 +/- 20.0 % of control). TBTCL (10(-9)-10(-6) M) significantly decreased the number of germ cells. The minimal decrease was observed at 10(-6) M TBTCL (30.2 +/- 3.51% of control). These results indicate that changes in the number of germ cells are a sensitive indicator of the effects of chemicals on the reproductive system. Since the method described in this paper is a novel, simple, time- and money-saving bioassay, C. elegans is an excellent model with which to determine the reproductive toxicity of chemicals including environmental pollutants.