Effects of Hypoxia on the Physiology of Zebrafish (Danio rerio): Initial Responses, Acclimation and Recovery

  • Jianfeng Feng
  • Ying Guo
  • Yongfei Gao
  • Lin Zhu


Hypoxia often occurs in aquatic environments as dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration decrease to a level where it is detrimental to aquatic organisms. To investigate the effects of hypoxia on the physiology of zebrafishes (Danio rerio), the organisms were kept at normoxic conditions (DO: 8 ± 0.3 mg L−1: control group) or were subjected to mild (DO: 3 ± 0.3 mg L−1) or severe hypoxia (DO: 1 ± 0.2 mg L−1) for 48 h and a subsequent restoration of oxygen concentrations (DO: 8 ± 0.3 mg L−1) for another 96 h at 25°C. We found that the enzyme activities show different initial responses, acclimation and recovery to severe hypoxia relative to normoxic conditions, but no significant difference was observed between normoxic conditions and mild hypoxia. The results suggest that zebrafishes can acclimate to the mild hypoxia (3 mg L−1) quickly but oxidative damage would occur when DO decreased below 1 mg L−1. Our findings could be useful for water resource managers to set protection limits of DO for aquatic organisms.


Hypoxia Dissolved oxygen Antioxidant Respiratory enzyme Resting metabolic Zebrafish 



We thank the two anonymous reviewers for highly professional critical analysis of the manuscript that helped substantially improve the work. This research was funded by the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2012ZX07501-003) and Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (15JCYBJC22800).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria at Ministry of Education, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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