Effects of cadmium and phenol on motility and ultrastructure of sea urchin and mussel spermatozoa

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Journal / PublicationArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) was used to study the effects of Cd(II) and phenol on sperm motility of sea urchin and mussel. In parallel, ultrastructural changes of sperm induced by these two toxicants were also investigated and related to motility impairment. Spermatozoa of sea urchin were more sensitive than mussel spermatozoa to both toxicants. Sea urchin sperm motility showed a good dose-response relationship to Cd(II) levels as well as exposure time. Exposure to the two toxicants changed the size and shape of the midpiece, which might affect the balance of spermatozoa in their swimming. The plasma membrane became more convoluted, and such a change might affect the streamlining and integrity of spermatozoa and hinder their normal movement patterns. Most important, disorganization of mitochondrial membranes and cristae was observed, suggesting disruption of ATP supply for sperm movement. Cadmium also induced greater ultrastructural damages in sea urchin spermatozoa.