Imidacloprid induces morphological and molecular damages on testis of lizard (Podarcis sicula)

Ecotoxicology. 2015 Jan;24(1):94-105. doi: 10.1007/s10646-014-1361-0. Epub 2014 Oct 15.


The insecticide imidacloprid was evaluated under laboratory conditions in the adult male Italian wall lizards (Podarcis sicula) to assess its potential toxicity. By an acute oral test, LD50 was 503.76 mg/kg. Changes in spermatogenesis, plasma sex hormone levels and androgen and oestrogen receptor mRNAs were analysed by subchronic test and simulated environmental exposure. 15-days subchronic test, in which lizards were orally dosed on alternate days at 0, 10, 50, 100 mg/kg bw, showed a dose-dependent changes of testicular architecture and an increase of apoptotic processes. In a 30-days simulated environmental exposure spermatogenesis was arrested at secondary spermatocyte level and only few primary spermatocytes were TUNEL-positive. In all experimental groups imidacloprid was able to decrease both the level of sex hormones and the steroid receptor mRNAs. The results demonstrate that imidacloprid affects reproduction function of male lizards therefore precautions must be taken to minimize the harmful effects of this compound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Imidazoles / toxicity*
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Lizards*
  • Male
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds / toxicity*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / blood
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testis / pathology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute
  • Toxicity Tests, Subchronic


  • Imidazoles
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • imidacloprid
  • Testosterone