Author(s): Braunbeck T
The morphological alterations of hepatocytes of female zebrafish, Brachydanio rerio, and fingerling rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri, following prolonged exposure to 0.04, 0.2 and 1 mg/L of 4-chloroaniline were investigated by means of light and electron microscopy. Changes in peroxisomes were visualized by cytochemical demonstration of catalase activity after incubation in the alkaline diaminobenzidine medium. The amount of storage products was illustrated by the silver impregnation technique. In a dose-dependent manner, the reaction of female zebrafish liver is characterized by a disturbance of hepatocytic compartmentation, progressive fenestration and fractionation of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), a decrease in the number of peroxisomes and catalase activity, stratified inclusions in mitochondria, and an augmentation of lysosomes and myelinated bodies. Trout hepatocytes display nuclear inclusions, fractionation and vesiculation of the RER, and an increase in mitochondria, but a decrease of peroxisomes and catalase activity. Whereas glycogen stores are exhausted at 1 mg/L 4-chloroaniline, lipid deposits are amplified. An elevated rate of hepatocytic mitosis as well as the occurrence of glycogen-condensing cells probably derived from hepatocytes indicate the induction of proliferative processes in trout liver. Evaluation and comparison of results with earlier reports suggest that despite the unspecificity of some alterations the combination of pathological symptoms yields a syndrome specific of the species and the substance studied. As a consequence, histological and cytological investigations are recommended as a routine supplement in an integrated test schedule for the assessment of sublethal effects of pollutants in the aquatic environment.