It is common knowledge that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) represent a serious threat to the health of both vertebrates and invertebrates. As far as the former are concerned, especially as regards human beings, a broad literature describes the direct and indirect effects induced by the PCBs on their systems and organs. Among invertebrates, the information available is mostly related to arthropods and is, however, very scarce. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on tissues and organs of individuals belonging to a species of Blattaria (Blattella germanica) treated with various doses of this toxic material. The pathologies found became more serious as the dosage increased and were present throughout the entire digestive system, in the fat body and in the male gonads: in these areas cell and tissue breakdown and severely damaged spermiogenesis were observed. In particular, the testes, Malpighian tubules and fat body accumulated an amorphous basophilic PAS-positive substance. Furthermore, the NOS-dependent NADPH diaphorase activity pattern in the retina and optic lobes was more evident in the treated than in the control insects.
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