2018 Volume 64 Issue 1 Pages 75-82
Mancozeb, an ethylene bis-dithiocarbamate, is widely used as a fungicide and exerts reproductive toxicity in vivo and in vitro in mouse oocytes by altering spindle morphology and impairing the ability to fertilize. Mancozeb also induces a premalignant status in mouse granulosa cells (GCs) cultured in vitro, as indicated by decreased p53 expression and tenuous oxidative stress. However, the presence and extent of ultrastructural alterations induced by mancozeb on GCs in vitro have not yet been reported. Using an in vitro model of reproductive toxicity, comprising parietal GCs from mouse antral follicles cultured with increasing concentrations of mancozeb (0.001–1 µg/ml), we sought to ascertain the in vitro ultrastructural cell toxicity by means of transmission (TEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy. The results showed a dose-dependent toxicity of mancozeb on mouse GCs. Ultrastructural data showed intercellular contact alterations, nuclear membrane irregularities, and chromatin marginalization at lower concentrations, and showed chromatin condensation, membrane blebbing, and cytoplasmic vacuolization at higher concentrations. Morphometric analysis evidenced a reduction of mitochondrial length in GCs exposed to mancozeb 0.01−1 µg/ml and a dose-dependent increase of vacuole dimension. In conclusion, mancozeb induced dose-dependent toxicity against GCs in vitro, including ultrastructural signs of cell degeneration compatible with apoptosis, likely due to the toxic breakdown product ethylenethiourea. These alterations may represent a major cause of reduced/delayed/missed oocyte maturation in cases of infertility associated with exposure to pesticides.