Evidence of apoptotic effects of 2,4-D and butachlor on walking catfish, Clarias batrachus, by transmission electron microscopy and DNA degradation studies.Life Sci. 2006 Jan 25; 78(9):977-86.LS
Apoptosis or programmed cell death is characterized morphologically by chromatin condensation, cell shrinkage, fragmentation of the nucleus and cytoplasm, and consequently formation of apoptotic bodies. It has also been best characterized by the cleavage of DNA into nucleosomal size fragments of 180-200 bp or multiples of the same. Contrary to this, under extreme conditions, the cells were found to show adaptive response to apoptosis and unable to regulate their own death; necrosis is therefore predominantly observed. In the present study, we showed induction of apoptosis in Clarias batrachus due to sublethal concentration of 2,4-D and butachlor at multiple exposure time. The first phase of the study involved light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for ultrastructural abnormalities of the germinal tissues. While, in the second phase of the study, DNA degradation of blood and hepatic tissue was resolved on agarose gel electrophoresis. In histopathological studies, large numbers of stage II oocytes were noted for nuclear blebbing irrespective of the test chemical. Some of the butachlor-exposed oocytes showed vacuolation and electron dense cytoplasm along with thickened nuclear envelope, having close association with the lysosomes on the cytoplasmic side. Some oocytes undergo nuclear blebbing having inner dense core and translucent cytoplasm. Leydig cells were slightly hypertrophied and few appeared pycnotic, a process involving necrotic changes in which the cell nuclei were characterized by rounding up and condensation resulting in hyperchromatic staining or pycnosis. In testicular tissue, spermatogonial nuclei had irregular large clumps of heterochromatin adjoining the nuclear membrane indicating initial stage of apoptotic cell death. Electrophoretic separation resulted in a ladder pattern of blood DNA and smear like pattern of hepatic DNA. These results indicate that the above herbicides are able to induce apoptosis both at molecular as well as cytological level. A reference dose or safety factor approach to calculate risk of human exposure to both chemicals is still awaited.