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Keywords:

  • aplacental;
  • batoids;
  • biomarkers;
  • oestrogens;
  • xeno-oestrogenic pollution

The aim of this investigation was to assess the effects of nonylphenol (NP), an oestrogen-like environmental pollutant, on the vitellogenin (VTG) synthesis in adult males of the aplacental viviparous cartilaginous fish Torpedo marmorata. The VTG recovery in males is considered a biomarker of xeno-oestrogenic pollution as this lipophosphoglycoprotein is physiologically induced by oestrogens only in females of oviparous and ovoviparous vertebrates. Using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, T. marmorata males injected with nonylphenol showed the presence of VTG in the liver and the kidney. In particular, vtg messenger (m)RNA and VTG protein were expressed in the liver, whereas in the kidney cells only the presence of VTG was recorded. By contrast, no expression for VTG was detected in the testis. These results demonstrate that in T. marmorata NP induces the expression of vtg only in the liver; the presence of VTG in the kidney and its absence in the testis are discussed.