The knowledge of oxidative stress in fish and other animals has a great importance in the environmental and aquatic toxicological studies. Oxidative stress is evoked by many chemicals, including some pesticides, metals and other organic pollutants. Antioxidant defense systems in fish and other animals can be used to assess a specific area of toxicity. The present understanding of the role played by numerous chemical and environmental toxins in the onset of oxidative stress in the gonads of fishes is summarized in this article. These toxins play a significant role in the development of reactive oxygen species by inducing oxidative stress in both aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Reactive oxygen species are produced in excess, which causes oxidative damage such as lipid peroxidation, protein and DNA oxidation, and enzyme inactivation. This review paper reveals how different natural and artificial toxins affect the reproductive capability and capacity of fishes, by showing how these toxins initiate oxidative stress and how in turn affect the structure, anatomy, physiology and functioning of gonads as well as reproductive cells. Antioxidant defense mechanisms are employed as biochemical indicators of oxidative stress. The study of these biomarkers and their effects can be used for biomonitoring the level of environmental toxicity in different organisms.
Department of Zoology, Khalsa College Amritsar, Punjab, India 143001
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to JKR
Mahajan S and Randhawa JK (2023) Environmental Toxicity and Oxidative Stress on Gonads of Fishes. Environ Sci Arch 2(STI-2):3-17.
1. Abdelhak EM, Madkour FF, Ibrahim AM, et al. (2013) Effect of pawpaw (Carica papaya) seeds meal on the reproductive performance and histological characters of gonads in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Indian Journal of Applied Research 3(12):34-37.
2. Abdelhamid AM, Mehrim Al, Barbary-El, et al. (2013) Effects of some commercial feed additives on the structure of gonads and microbiology of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fish. Egypt J Aqua Bio & Fish 17(2):47-62.
3. Abhay DS (2014) A study on histopathological changes in the gonads of a fresh water teleost fish, A. mola exposed to the heavy metals. Journal of Global Biosciences 3(4):763-771.
4. Adhikari S, Sarkar B, Chattopadhyay A, et al. (2008) Carbofuran induced changes in breeding of fresh water fish, Labeo rohita (Hamilton). Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry 90(3):457-465.
5. Al-Jowari S (2011) Effect of insecticide Dichlorovos on ovaries of mosquito fish Gambusia affinis (Baird and Girard). Baghdad Science Journal 8(4):934-939.
6. Al-Salahy MB (2011) Physiological studies on the effect of copper nicotinate (Cu-N complex) on the fish Clarias gariepinus, exposed to mercuric chloride. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry 37(3):373-385.
7. Ambani MM (2015) Effects of reproductive biology on heavy metal pollution on the histopathological structure of gonads in India. International Scholars Journal 3(2):223-227.
8. Anamika, Ranjana and Mishra AP (2015) Histopathological alterations of profenofos on the ovary of fresh water air-breathing fish Channa gaucha. The Asian Journal of Animal Science 10(1):8-13.
9. Annabi A, Said K and Messaoudi I (2013) Cadmium: Toxic effects and physiological impairments in fishes. International Journal of Advanced Research 1(3):372-382.
10. Archana B and Sitre S (2014) Alterations in the gonads of Labeo rohita exposed to Endosulfan at sublethal dose in long duration experiments. International Interdisciplinary Research Journal IV:232-240.
11. Auten RL and Davis JM (2009) Oxygen toxicity and reactive oxygen species: The Devil is in the Details. Pediatric Research 66(2):121-127.
12. Bakde C and Poddar AN (2011) Effect of steel plant effluent on acid and alkaline phosphatases of gills, liver and gonads of Cyprinus carapio Linn. (1758). International Journal of Environmental Sciences 1(6):1305-1316.
13. Barillet S, Larno V, Floriani M, et al. (2010) Ultrastructural effects on gills, muscles and gonadal tissues induced in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) by a water borne uranium exposure. Aquatic Toxicology 100(3):295-302.
14. Bayar AS, Bilici S, Cengiz EI, et al. (2014) The effect of vitamin E supplementation on ovary and testes histopathology in Oreochromis niloticus exposed to Deltamethrin. Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry 96(1):114-135.
15. Beiras R (2018) Chapter 12-Biotransformation. Marine Pollution 205-214.
16. Bera A, Chadha NK, Dasgupta S, et al. (2020) Hypoxia-mediated inhibition of cholesterol synthesis leads to disruption of nocturnal sex steroidogenesis in the gonad of koi carp, Cyprinus carpio. Fish Physiol Biochem 46(6):2421-2435.
17. Bhuiyan AS, Nesa B and Nessa Q (2001) Effect of sumithion on the histological changes of spotted murrel, Channa punctatus (Bloch). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 4(10):1288-1290.
18. Biswas S and Ghosh AR (2016) Lead induced histopathological alterations in ovarian tissue of fresh water teleost, Mastacembelus pancalus (Hamilton). International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research 2(01):045-051.
19. Burdick GE, Harris EJ, Dean HJ, et al. (2011) The accumulation of DDT in Lake Trout and the effect on reproduction. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 93(2):127-136.
20. Chandak N, Bhardwaj JK, Zheleva-Dimitrova, et al. (2015) Effective attenuation of atrazine-induced histopathological changes in testicular tissue by antioxidant N-phenyl-4-aryl-polyhydroquinolines 30(5):722-9.
21. Chandra S, Ram RN and Singh IJ (2003) Testicular recrudescence and recovery response in Cyprinus carpio after long term exposure to a carbamate pesticide. Journal of Ecophysiology and Occupational Health 3(1):15-35.
22. Deka S and Mahanta R (2012) A study on the effect of organophosphorous pesticide Malathion on Hepato-renal and reproductive organs of Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). The Science Probe 1(1):1-13.
23. Desai B, Sadekarpawar S and Parikh P (2011) Histoarchitectural alterations on ovary and testes of Oreochromis mossambicus exposed to Dimethoate. Bionano Frontier 4(2):250-254.
24. Dey S and Bhattacharya S (1989) Ovarian damage to Channa punctatus after chronic exposure to low concentrations of Elsan, Mercury and Ammonia. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 17(2):247-257.
25. Gautam GJ and Chaube R (2018) Differential effects of heavy metals (Cadmium, Cobalt, Lead, Mercury) on oocyte maturation and ovulation of the catfish Heteropnuestus fossilis: An In-vitro study. Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 18:1205-1214.
26. George OO, Amaeze NH, Babatunde E, et al. (2017) Genotoxic, Histopathological and Oxidative stress responses in catfish, Clarias gariepinus, exposed to two antifouling paints. Journal of Health and Pollution 7(16):71-82.
27. Haider S and Inbaraj RM (1988) Invitro effect of Malathion and Endosulfan on the LH-induced oocyte maturation in the common carp, Cyprinus carpio (L.). Water, Air and Soil Pollution 39:27-31.
28. Hedayati A and Katuli KK (2016) Impact of mercury on the liver and ovary of yellow fin sea bream (Acanthopagrus latus) in the Persian gulf. Ecopersia 4(1):1295-1312.
29. Hopkins CL, Solly SRB and Ritchie AR (2010) DDT in trout and its possible effects on reproductive potential. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Fresh Water Research 3:220-229.
30. Ighodaro OM and Akinloye OA (2019) First line defense antioxidants- Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT) and Glutathione peroxidase (GPx): Their fundamental role in the entire antioxidant defense grid. Alexandria Journal of Medicine 54(4):287-293.
31. Iseni G, Beadini N, Jordanova M, et al. (2018) The comparative enzyme and histological analysis of the Barbus peleponnesius from the aquaculture and natural population in the Vardar River in the Republic of Macedonia. Biologija. 64(2):137–152.
32. Johnson LL, Lomax DP, Myers MS, et al. (2008) Xenoestrogen exposure and effects in English sole (Paraphrys vetulus) from Puget Sound, WA. Aquatic Toxicology 88(1):29-38.
33. Johnson LL, Casillo E, Collier TK et al. (1988) Contaminant effects on ovarian developmental in English Sole (Paraphyrus vetulus) from Puget Sound, Washington. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 45(12):2133-2146.
34. Johnson LL, Misitano D, Sol SY, et al. (1998) Contaminant effects on ovarian development an spawning success in Rock sole from Puget Sound, Washington. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127(3):375-392.
35. Jyothi B and Narayana G (1999) Toxic effects of carbaryl on gonads of fresh water fish, Clarias batrachus (Linneaus). Journal of Environmental Biology 20(1):73-76.
36. Kirozuk L, Domagala J and Rapacz MP (2015) Annual developmental cycle of gonads of European Perch females (Perca fluviatilis L.) from natural sites and a canal carrying Post-cooling water from the Dolna Odra power plant (NW Poland). Folia Biologica 63(2):85-93.
37. Kjesbu OS, Klungsøyr J, Kryvi H, et al. (1991) Fecundity, Atresia, Egg size of captive Atlantic Cod (Gadusmorhua) in relation to proximate body composition. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48(12).
38. Koç ND, Muşlu MN, Kayhan FE et al. (2009) Histopathological changes in ovaries of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) following administration of deltamethrin. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin18(10):1872-1878.
39. Kumar V and Mukherjee D (1988) Phenol and Sulfide induced changes in ovary and liver of sexually maturing common carp, Cyprinus carpio. Aquatic Toxicology 13(1):53-59.
40. Kumari S and Kanaklata (2013) Histoarchitectural changes in ovary of the sodium fluoride treated catfish during breeding period. The Ecosan: An International Quarterly Journal of Environmental Sciences IV: 69-73.
41. Kushwaha MP (2013) Effect of Aloe Vera (Liliaceae) on gonad development in Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L.) during intensive aquaculture. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies 1(2):56-60.
42. Kutluyer F, Kocabas M, Erisir M, et al. (2018) Cypermethrin-induced in vitro alterations on oxidative stress and quality of Salmo coruhensis spermatozoa. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research 52(4): S71-S76.
43. Liu Q, Spitsbergen JM, Cariou R, et al. (2014) Histopathologic alterations associated with global gene expression due to chronic dietary TCDD exposure in juvenile zebrafish. PloS One 9(7).
44. Lubos E, Loscalzo J and Handy DE (2011) Glutathione Peroxidase-1 in health and disease: From molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities. Antioxid Redox Signal 15(7):1957-1997.
45. Magar RS and Bias UE (2013) Histopathological impact of malathion on the ovary of fresh water fish, Channa punctatus. International Research Journal of Environmental Sciences 2(3):59-61.
46. Maqbool A and Ahmed I (2013) Effect of pesticide Monocrotophos (organophosphate), on the gonadal development of female fresh water, Channa punctatus (Bloch). International Journal of Recent Scientific Research 4(10):1454-1458.
47. Marutirao GR (2013) Histopathological changes in the ovary of fresh water fish, Puntiusticto (Ham) under dimethoate toxicity. The Bioscan 8(3):989-992.
48. Masarat J, Borana K and Sujaad N (2014) Effect of mercuric chloride on histology of ovaries of African catfish, Clarias gariepinus. IMPACT: International Journal of Research in Applied, Natural and Social Sciences 2(5):107-110.
49. MatÉs JM, Pérez-Gómez C and De Castro IN (1999) Antioxidant Enzymes and Human diseases. Clinical Biochemistry 32(8):595-603.
50. Mehlis M, Frommen JG, RahnAK et al. (2012) Inbreeding in three spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.): Effects on testes and sperm traits. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107(3):510-520.
51. Mishra AK and Mohanty B (2008) Histopathological effects of Hexavalent Chromium in the ovary of fresh water fish, Channa punctatus (Bloch). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 80(6):507-511.
52. Mondal K, Karmakar B and Haque S (2015) A review on the effects of pyrethoids pesticides on fresh water fish behavior and reproduction. Journal of Global Biosciences 4(6):2594-2598.
53. Narayanswamy SY and M Mohan R (2010) Impact of Neem oil on ovarian changes in fresh water fish, Glossogobius giuris. Asian J Exp Biol Sci 1(3): 677-680.
54. Navarro RD, Sousa SC, Bizaaro YWS, et al. (2015) Effect of photoperiod on somatic growth and gonadal development in male Nile Tilapia. Acta Scientiarum 37:381-385.
55. Olubukola AA and Victor CA (2012) Altered reproduction in Clarias gariepinus exposed to industrial effluents. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences 7(1):61-70.
56. Ozok N, Oguz AR, Dogan A, et al., (2017) Oxidative Damage in Some Tissues of Van Fish (Alburnustarichi Güldenstädt, 1814) Having Abnormal Ovary. Yyu J Agr Sci27(3): 447-452.
57. Pandey AC (1988) Impact of endosulfan (thiodon) Ec 35 on behavior and dynamics of oocyte development in the teleostean fish, Colisa (trichogaster) fasciatus. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 15(2):221-225.
58. Pandey H and Mishra A (2014) Histopathological effects of chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide on ovary of fresh water teleost, Channa punctatus during pre-spawning season. Biodiversity and Environment 1:86-88.
59. Pizzino G, Irrera N, Cucinotta M, et al. (2017) Oxidative Stress: Harms and Benefits for Human Health. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2017:1-13.
60. Rajini A, Revathy K and Selvam G (2015) Histopathological changes in tissues of Danio rerio exposed to sublethal concentration of combination pesticide. Indian Journal of Science and Technology 8(18):1-12.
61. Ram RN and Sathyanesan AG (1985) Organophosphate induced biochemical changes in the Brain, Liver and Ovary of the fish, Channa punctatus (Bloch). Proc Indian Nat Sci Acad 51(5):537-542.
62. Rao AC and Krishnan L (2011) Biochemical composition and changes in biological indices associated with maturation of the ovary in the spiny cheek grouper, Epinephelus diacanthus. Indian Journal of Fisheries 58(2):45-52.
63. Sadekarpawar S and Parikh P (2013) Gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indices of fresh water fish, Oreochromis mossambicus in response to plant nutrient. World Journal of Zoology 8(1):110-118.
64. Saemi-Kansari M, Bani A, Khara H, et al. (2014) Reproductive strategy of the European perch, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus, 1758 (Osteichthyes: Percidae) in the Anzali wetland. Journal of Applied Icthyology 30(2):307-313.
65. Samarin AM, Samarin AM, Østbye TK, et al. (2019) The possible involvement of oxidative stress in the oocyte ageing process in goldfish Carassius auratus (Linnaeus, 1758). Sci Rep 19(1):10469.
66. Saravanan TS, Chandrasekar R and Aneez MM (2003) Endosulfan induced changes in the liver and ovary of the fresh water fish, Oreochromis mossambicus (Trewaves). Malaysian Journal of Science 22(2):29-34.
67. Sarkar B, Mahanty A, Saha A, et al. (2013) Impact of cypermethrin and carbofuran on the ovarian cycle of Indian major carp, Labeo rohita (Hamilton). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Indian Section B: Biological Sciences 84(4):989-996.
68. Saxena PK and Bhatia R (1983) Effect of vegetable oil factory effluent on ovarian recrudescence in the fresh water teleost, Channa punctatus (Bl.). Water, Air and Soil Pollution 20(1):55-61.
69. Sayed AEH and Ismail RF (2017) Endocrine disruption, oxidative stress, and testicular damage induced by 4-nonylphenol in Clarias gariepinus: the protective role of Cydonia oblonga. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry 43(4):1095-1104.
70. Sharma S, Manohar S, Qureshi T A, et al. (2011) Histological studies on the cadmium chloride exposed air breathing fish, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch) with special reference to ovaries. International Journal of Environmental Sciences 2(2):411-416.
71. Shobikhuliatul JJ, Andayani S, Couteau J, et al. (2013) Some aspects of reproductive biology on the effect of pollution on the histopathology of gonads in Puntius javanicus from Mas river, Surabaya, Indonesia. Journal of Biology and Life Sciences 4(2):191-205.
72. Singh H and Singh TP (1980) Effect of two pesticides on ovarian 32 P uptake and gonadotrophin concentration during different phases of annual reproductive cycle in the fresh water catfish, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). Environmental Research 22(1):190-200.
73. Singh H and Singh TP (1980) Effects of two pesticides on total lipid and cholesterol contents of ovary, liver and blood serum during different phases of annual reproductive cycle in the fresh water teleost, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). Environmental Pollution Series A, Ecological and Biological 23(1):9-17.
74. Singh H and Singh TP (1981) Effect of Parathion and aldrin on survival, ovarian 32 P uptake and gonadotrophic potency in a fresh water catfish, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). Endokrinologie 77(2):173-8.
75. Singh H and Singh TP (1982) Effect of some pesticides in hypothalamo-hypophyseal-ovarian axis in fresh water catfish, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). Environmental Pollution Series A, Ecological and Biological 27(4):283-288.
76. Srivastava AK and Srivastava AK (1994) Effect of chlorodecone on the gonads of fresh water catfish, Heteropnuestus fossilis. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53:186-191.
77. Sukumar A and Karpagaganapathy PR (1992) Pesticide-induced atresia in ovary of fresh water fish, Colisa lalia (Hamilton- Buchnan). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 48(3):457-462.
78. Sumi N and Chitra KC (2019) Fullerene C60 nanomaterial induced oxidative imbalance in gonads of the freshwater fish, Anabas testudineus (Bloch, 1792). Aquat Toxicol 210:196-206.
79. Tantarpale VT and Rathod SH (2014) Effect of cypermetherin on the ovary of freshwater fish Channa striatus. Indian Journal of Life Sciences 3(2).
80. Todd EV, Ortega-Recalde O, Liu H, et al. (2019) Stress, novel sex genes, and epigenetic reprogramming Orchestrate socially controlled sex change. Organismal Biology 5(7): eaaw7006.
81. Vergilio CS, Moreira RV, Carvalho CEV, et al. (2013) Histopathological effects of Mercury on Male gonad and sperm of tropical fish Gymnotus carapo invitro. E3S Web of Conferences 1:1-4.
82. Vergilio CS, Moreira RV, Carvalho CEV, et al. (2015) Evolution of Cadmium effects in the testis and sperm of the tropical fish Gymnotus carapo. Tissue and Cell 30:1-8.
83. Verma H and Srivastava N (2008) Zinc induced Architectural alterations and accumulation in the ovary of fresh water teleost, Channa punctata (Bloch). Electronic Journal of Ichthyology 2:85-91.
84. Verma SR and Tonk IP (1983) Effect of sublethal concentrations of mercury on the composition of liver, muscles and ovary of Notopterus notopterus. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 20:287-292.
85. Wang K, Wang E, Quin Z, et al. (2016) Effects of dietary vitamin E deficiency on systematic pathological changes and oxidative stress in fish. Oncotarget 7(5):83869-83879.
86. Yadav SS, Kumar R, Khare P, et al. (2015) Oxidative stress biomarker in the fresh water fish, Heteropnuestus fossilis (Bloch). Antioxidant defense and role of Ascorbic acid. Toxicology International 22(1):71-6.
87. Yӧn ND, Çolak SO and Kayhan FE (2009) Histopathological changes in the ovaries of Zebra fish (Danio rerio) following administration of deltamethrin. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin 18(10):1872-1878.
88. Zarnescu O (2009) Tracing the accumulation and effects of mercury uptake in the previtellogenic ovary of crucian carp, Carassicus auratus gibelio by autometallography and caspase-3 immunohistochemistry. Histol Histopathol 24(2):141-8.
License: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. Visit for more details http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.