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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Cytology of the outer penis epithelium ofBuccinum undatum (L.) from the arctic region — an observation of the imposex phenomenon

  • M. Brick1 and
  • M. Bolte1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen48:BF02366206


TBT (tributyltin)-induced imposex is observed in femaleBuccinum undatum from the arctic region. The fine structure of the male penis epithelium was investigated and the results were compared between specimens from non-polluted (Spitsbergen, Norway) and highly-polluted (Brittany, France) areas. Differences in the arrangement and structure of the apical microvilli-border, the intercellular spaces, RER and SER content, as well as a high rate of parasitism in the tissue of individuals from Brittany can be detected between the species of both areas. The results indicate a higher degree of pathological changes in the penis epithelial cells of individuals from TBT-polluted areas than in those from Spitsbergen.


Waste WaterEpithelial CellWater ManagementWater PollutionFine Structure