Effects of cadmium exposure on sperm and larvae of the neotropical fish Prochilodus magdalenae

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2019 Nov;225:108577. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2019.108577. Epub 2019 Jul 29.


Cadmium (Cd) is a heavy metal with known deleterious effects on animal reproduction, decreasing the rate of fertilization of organisms such as fish. Prochilodus magdalenae is a very important fish species in Colombia, widely used by riparian communities from many rivers. Unfortunately, its population has been declining, whereas Cd seems to be more frequently detected in environmental matrices at Colombian ecosystems. The aim of this work was to determine the toxic effects of cadmium chloride on fertilization, sperm quality and mortality at 0, 1, 6 and 7 days post-hatching (dph) in this vulnerable species. The results indicated that Cd altered the fertilization and sperm quality by decreasing total motility and rapid and medium motilities of swimming spermatozoa. Results showed Cd produced 16.4 and 46.5% sperm motility inhibition, at 2.5 and 25 ppm, respectively. The heavy metal also impaired sperm curvilinear and straight-line velocities in a concentration-response dose. Cadmium-induced a dose-dependent effect on the mortality of the exposed larvae that depends on its development stage, with greater effects after 6 and 7 dph, observed at concentrations as low as 0.025 ppm. The results showed that the exposure to environmentally relevant Cd concentrations causes physiological changes in the initial stages of development of P. magdalenae, likely increasing the risk of reducing the fertility rate of this valuable fish species.

Keywords: Colombia; Fertility; Heavy metal; Reproduction; Toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadmium / toxicity*
  • Characiformes / metabolism*
  • Colombia
  • Fertility*
  • Larva* / growth & development
  • Larva* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Sperm Motility*
  • Spermatozoa* / growth & development
  • Spermatozoa* / metabolism


  • Cadmium