Individual and Combined Effects of Heavy Metals on Serum Biochemistry of Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus

  • Özgür Fırat
  • Ferit Kargın


Changes in serum biochemistry in response to single- and combined-metal exposure were studied in a freshwater fish Oreochromis niloticus. Fish were exposed to 5.0 mg/L Zn, 1.0 mg/L Cd, and 5.0 mg/L Zn+1.0 mg/L Cd mixtures for 7 and 14 days to determine levels of biochemical parameters and metals in blood serum. The individual and combined effects of metals caused an increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities and in levels of albumin, transferrin, ceruloplasmin, cortisol, glucose, and total protein, whereas they caused a decrease in cholesterol levels. At both exposure periods, increased ALT activity of fish exposed to Cd was higher compared with the Zn and Zn+Cd groups, respectively. The decreased cholesterol level was higher in the Cd alone, and for Cd in combination with Zn, than in Zn alone at 14 days. Zn or Cd levels increased in the blood serum of fish exposed to metals individually or in combination. When fish were exposed to the mixtures of Zn+Cd, concentrations of these metals in their serum were lower than in fish exposed to individual metals. One metal blocks or even antagonizes the gill epithelium absorption of the other and thereby limits the distribution of the metal in blood. The results indicate that biochemical parameters in fish blood can be used as an indicator of heavy-metal toxicity.


Cortisol Transferrin Monocrotophos Cholesterol Esterase Ceruloplasmin Level 
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This study was supported by Grant FEF 2006 D16 from Cukurova University.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of BiologyUniversity of AdiyamanAdiyamanTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of BiologyUniversity of CukurovaAdanaTurkey

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