Alkylphenols (AP) are widespread environmental compounds belonging to the large family of substances known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). The present study was carried out to assess the effects of Octylphenol (OP) alone and in combination with Nonylphenol (NP) on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA) axis of the lizard Podarcis sicula. Lizards are good bioindicators due to their features such as wide distribution, large population and good sensitivity to contaminants. Results obtained showed a time and dose-dependent stimulation of the HPA together with a high variation of both catecholamine plasma levels and greater vascularization and hypertrophy of steroidogenic cord of adrenal gland after both OP and OP + NP treatments. Interestingly, the OP + NP mixture treatment has provoked a state of stress of the adrenal gland which in fact appeared to be characterized by the presence of a marked macrophage infiltration which can be seen especially close to the connective capsule surrounding the gland. This macrophage infiltration could be an evidence of a particularly pronounced inflammatory state to indicate, probably, an animal's response to a non-physiological situation.
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