Cd exposures in fathead minnows: Effects on adult spawning success and reproductive physiology

Marlo K. Sellin, Alan S. Kolok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The primary objective of this study was to determine whether cadmium (Cd) exposures alter reproduction in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Pairs of sexually mature minnows were exposed to waterborne Cd at 0, 12.5, 25, or 50 μg/L for 21 days. During this exposure period, the reproductive success of pairs was assessed. Following the exposure, gonadosomatic index (GSI), male secondary sexual characteristics, male plasma 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) concentrations, and female plasma estradiol (E2) concentrations were determined. Results of this study show that Cd exposures impair reproduction in fathead minnows. Pairs exposed to 50 μg/L experienced a significant decline in spawning frequency and fecundity relative to unexposed minnows. Cd exposures also caused alterations in male secondary sexual characteristics, as males exposed to 25 μg/L had significantly fewer nuptial tubercles than controls. Furthermore, males exposed to 12.5 μg/L Cd experienced a significant increase in plasma 11-KT concentrations relative to controls. No alterations in GSI or female plasma E2 concentrations were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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