Reproductive and endocrine-disrupting toxicity of pyrogallol in catfish (Clariasgariepinus)

Environ Pollut. 2024 Jul 1:352:124104. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2024.124104. Epub 2024 May 2.


Endocrine disruptors are synthetic or natural chemicals that can agonize/antagonize hormone receptors or can interfere with the production and secretion of hormones, leading to altered tissue histology and physiology. Pyrogallol is a contaminant widely distributed in aquatic environments that presents health risks to both humans and animals. However, the potential for endocrine disruption by pyrogallol, particularly in fish, are lacking. The purpose of this study was to shed light on how pyrogallol may affect hormone signalling, histopathology, and reproductive outcomes in African catfish Clarias gariepinus. To investigate this, African catfish were exposed to one sublethal concentration of pyrogallol at either 0, 1, 5 or 10 mg/L for 15 days. We then assessed the effects of pyrogallol on the thyroid gland as well as the reproductive system by measuring sex hormone, seminal quality, gonadal histopathology, and histochemistry. Thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroxine showed notable decreases in catfish, and triiodothyronine was decreased with 10 mg/L pyrogallol. Unlike luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone was significantly reduced in fish following exposure to pyrogallol relative to controls. Testosterone was also decreased in fish following pyrogallol exposure, whereas 17β-estradiol increased in catfish exposed to pyrogallol. Additionally, in response to pyrogallol toxicity, sperm quality indices, including count, spermatocrit, motility, and sperm viability were adversely affected in a concentration-dependent manner. Pyrogallol exposure also induced several changes in the gonad following exposure to 1, 5, or 10 mg/L. Deformed tubular structures, vacuolation, thickening of the basement membrane, hypertrophy of the seminiferous tubules, intense melanomacrophage localization, spermatozoa loss, and necrosis were all observed in the testes. In the ovary, atretic follicles, deteriorated mature oocytes, degenerated yolk globules, and an increase in perinucleolar oocytes were observed in catfish exposed to pyrogallol. These findings suggest that pyrogallol may act as endocrine disrupting substance in aquatic environments. Further research on the mechanisms by which pyrogallol impairs endocrine systems, particularly in fish, is recommended.

Keywords: Clarias gariepinus; Endocrine disruption; Histopathology; Pyrogallol; Reproductive toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catfishes* / physiology
  • Endocrine Disruptors* / toxicity
  • Female
  • Male
  • Pyrogallol* / analogs & derivatives
  • Pyrogallol* / toxicity
  • Reproduction* / drug effects
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / toxicity


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Pyrogallol