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Cadmium in the Wall Lizard Podarcis Sicula: Morphological and Molecular Effects on Embryonic and Adult Tissues pp. 147-162 $100.00
Authors:  (Rosaria Scudiero, Silvana Filosa, Chiara Maria Motta, Palma Simoniello, Francesca Trinchella, Department of Biological Sciences, University Federico II, Napoli, Italy)
Abstract:
Cadmium is a persistent contaminant accumulated in the environment from both anthropogenic and natural sources. Every year, large quantities of this metal are released in the different environmental compartments and may pose a significant threat to the biota exposed. Intracellular damage caused by cadmium exposure includes protein denaturation, lipid peroxidation, generation of reactive oxygen species and DNA strand breaks. Many studies have also demonstrated that this ion has a teratogenic or lethal effect on embryos, related to the dose and exposure time. In spite of the wide number of studies carried out in laboratory mammals, data on cadmium effects on fertility, reproduction and embryonic development of wild terrestrial vertebrates are still limited. In particular, information on the consequences of environmental cadmium exposure on reptiles survival and biodiversity are particularly scanty. Reptiles are presently considered highly susceptible to a number of environmental pollutants and this has contributed to the global decline of several wild populations of turtles, crocodilians and lizards. As regarding cadmium effects on offspring survival, reptiles eggs for a long time have been considered well protect from the external environment and the presence of environmental contaminants in eggs or developing embryos has been attributed to a maternal transference during vitellogenesis and oviductal egg retention. More recently, it has been demonstrate that metal ions and organic contaminants present in soil may cross the flexible parchment-like shell of reptilian eggs. In consideration of the few data currently available we decided to investigate cadmium effects on biological processes such as reproduction and development in the reptile Podarcis sicula, a lizard species inhabiting both pristine and urbanized areas. The results summarized in this chapter clearly demonstrate that cadmium can interfere with the welfare and the reproductive fitness of adults, and with the development and survival of embryos. In turn, these detrimental effects on offspring production may dramatically modify the survival of wild populations inhabiting contaminated areas significantly endangering the local biodiversity and the ecological equilibrium. 


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Cadmium in the Wall Lizard Podarcis Sicula: Morphological and Molecular Effects on Embryonic and Adult Tissues pp. 147-162