Trimethyltin chloride (TMTC) and triethyltin chloride (TETC) were fed to mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducklings for 73 to 75 d, beginning when ducklings were 3 to 4 d old. Diets were mixed to contain 0,0.5,5 or 50 ppm Sn as either TMTC or TETC. Mortality occurred only in the 5 ppm (2/5 ducklings) and 50 ppm (5/5 ducklings, all dying within 5 d) TMTC groups. Death was preceded by cephalic tremors, lethargy and ataxia; these clinical signs also were observed in surviving ducklings from the 5 ppm TMTC group, but not the 0.5 ppm TMTC group. Ducklings fed 5 and 50 ppm Sn as TMTC exhibited degeneration of the large neurons of the pons, medulla oblongata, gray matter of the spinal cord and pyramidal cells of the cerebral cortex. TETC-fed ducklings showed few signs of clinical toxicosis. Ducklings fed 50 ppm Sn as TETC exhibited mild to severe vacuolization of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord; these lesions were not present in ducklings fed 5 ppm Sn as TETC. Liver, spleen, kidney, thymus, bursa of Fabricius and skeletal muscle presented no abnormal histopathology for either organotin compound. Hematocrit, hemoglobin and plasma aspartate aminotransferase; alanine aminotransferase; lactate dehydrogenase; alkaline phosphatase; and cholinesterase values were determined for the 5- and 50- ppm TMTC and TETC groups, and were not different from those of controls (p < 0.05). Lesions and clinical signs of toxicosis in ducklings were consistent with those described for mammals exposed to TMTC and TETe. The effect threshold for TMTC in ducklings appears to exceed current environmental concentrations. Environmental concentrations of TETC have not been reported.
Additional publication details
Toxicity of trimethyltin and triethyltin to mallard ducklings