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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol May 1, 2021; 80 (4): 769-778.

Effects of Copper on the Neuromasts of Xenopus Laevis.

Krupa PM , McMurry ST , Minghetti M , Belden JB .

Fish and aquatic amphibians possess neuromasts on the surface of their body that constitute the lateral line, a sensory system used to detect water displacement. Copper is known to inactivate the neuromast organs of this system. Copper-induced neuromast loss in African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis, was examined by exposing Nieuwkoop-Faber stage 54-55 larvae to copper concentrations of 0, 100, 200, 300, and 400 µg/L for 96 h, followed by an examination of neuromast counts, staining intensity, and behavioral responses. Neuromasts were counted using a novel imaging method across four different body regions: the whole body, partial body, head, and tail. Neuromast counts showed a decreasing, but nonsignificant, trend across increasing levels of copper exposure. Intensity of neuromast staining showed a stronger concentration-dependent decrease in all four body regions. The decrease in staining intensity, but not neuromast number, may indicate that although neuromasts are still functioning, they have a decreased number of viable hair cells. Potential loss of responsiveness related to neuromast damage was examined via sensitivity to puffs of air at varying distances. We detected little to no difference in response to the air puff stimulus between control tadpoles and tadpoles exposed to 400 µg/L of copper. Neuromasts of X. laevis may be more resistant to copper than those of North American tadpole species, possibly suggesting greater tolerance of the lateral line to environmental stressors in species that maintain this sensory system throughout their lifespan as compared with species that only have the lateral line during the larval period.

PubMed ID: 33180147
Article link: Arch Environ Contam Toxicol