The Nucleus

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Genotoxic and cytotoxic assessment of individual and composite mixture of cadmium, lead and manganese in Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) using micronucleus assay

  • Chibuisi G. AlimbaEmail author
  • Abdulraheem W. Laide
Original Article


Heavy metals are ubiquitous environmental and occupational genotoxicants with different absorbability and toxicokinetics towards increasing genetic damage, neoplasm and cell death. Aquatic organisms are exposed to individuals and/or mixtures of these metals. This study investigated the potentials for cadmium(II) (Cd), lead(II) (Pb), manganese(II) (Mn), and their mixture (CPM) to induce cytogenotoxicity in Clarias gariepinus (Family: Clariidae). Clarias gariepinus was exposed to six concentrations ranging from 0 to 1600 mg/L, selected from range finding tests, to evaluate the 96 h acute toxicity for the individual metals and CPM. Fish were exposed to sub-lethal concentrations (6.25, 12.5 25, 50, and 100% of the 96 h LC50) of each metal and their mixture for 7 days to investigate micronucleus (MN) and abnormal nuclei (NAs) in the peripheral blood erythrocytes. Fish were exposed to borehole tap water and 0.01 mL/L of Benzene as negative and positive controls respectively. The tested metals induced toxicity in the order CMP > Cd > Pb > Mn, with CPM (LC50 = 40.6 mg/L) being 11.5 times more toxic than Mn (LC50 = 478.2 mg/L), the least toxic metal, to juvenile catfish. All the tested metals induced significant increase in frequencies of MN and NAs. The induced MN and NAs were in the order CMP > Cd > Mn > Pb. Fragmented and necrotic cells were common NAs in fish treated with 50 and 100% of Cd and CPM, suggesting that severely damaged cells were eliminated by programmed cell death (apoptosis) and/or accidental cell death (necrosis). Antagonistic interaction among the composite mixture of CPM provoked greater genomic instability and cytotoxicity in fish. Significant increase in MN and NAs in exposed fish suggest increased genomic instability which may lead to increase health defects including neoplasms and genetic related disorders, cell dysfunction and/or cell death.


Acute toxicity Cytogenotoxicity Cadmium–lead–manganese mixture Joint-action metal toxicity Micronucleus assay Clarias gariepinus 



The authors declare that the study herein was not funded by any funding body.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no form of conflict of interest exists.


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© Archana Sharma Foundation of Calcutta 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Biology and Genetics Unit, Department of ZoologyUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria
  2. 2.Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo)Technical University of DortmundDortmundGermany

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