Evaluation of Antioxidant Circulatory Lipid-Soluble Vitamins and Sodium as Non-invasive Indicators of Chronic Copper Exposure and Toxicity in Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

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Measurement of circulatory indicators of copper (Cu) exposure and toxicity in rainbow trout revealed elevated Cu concurrent with reduced sodium (Na) concentrations in plasma of Cu-exposed fish. Using a new normal phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method developed and validated for simultaneous extraction of lipid-soluble antioxidant vitamins we found that, contrary to our original hypothesis, plasma antioxidant status was enhanced as evidenced by a linear increase in vitamin E concentration. This suggests that vitamin E was mobilized from other metabolic pools to enhance circulatory antioxidant status possibly for delivery to Cu-sensitive locales. On the other hand, plasma vitamin A was not affected by the Cu exposure although its level decreased with time concurrent with an increase in fish size suggesting increased demand for growth. Thus circulatory Cu, Na, and vitamin E, but not vitamin A, can be used as non-lethal biomarkers of chronic Cu exposure and toxicity in fish.