Adult Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, of both sexes were exposed in wastewater from a sewage treatment plant for a period of 4 days. Gill samples were collected after 24, 48, 72 and 96 h and histopathological changes were analyzed by light and scanning electronic microscopy. Gill epithelium of control O. niloticus (freshwater group) was similar to that of other teleosts, while histopathological lesions were observed in exposed fishes. The main histopathological changes were edema, lifting of lamellar and filamentar epithelia and lamellar fusion. Cell proliferation with consequent thickening of the filament epithelium was also found in fishes exposed to the treated sewage water. The severity of the lesions increased with the time of exposure, namely the hyperplasia of the epithelial cells with proliferation of filamentar epithelium and fusion of lamellae observed at 96 h. Additionally, several histopathological results obtained by light microscopy were confirmed through scanning microscopy.
Gill; tilapia; histopathology; wastewater