Chronic Effects of Realistic Concentrations of Non-essential and Essential Metals (Lead and Zinc) on Oxidative Stress Biomarkers of the Mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki

  • Bruno Nunes
  • Carina Caldeira
  • Joana Luísa Pereira
  • Fernando Gonçalves
  • Alberto Teodorico Correia


Metallic contamination is widespread, particularly in areas impacted by human activities. Human activities result in high loads of metals being discarded into the aquatic compartment, reinforcing the need to evaluate their toxic effects especially on exposed fish. The purpose of this study was to determine the toxic response (namely, antioxidant levels and lipoperoxidative damage) in both liver and gills of the freshwater fish species Gambusia holbrooki, exposed to lead and zinc. Fish were exposed for 28 days (chronic exposure) to ecologically relevant concentrations of the selected compounds. The following oxidative stress/damage biomarkers were evaluated: glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), glutathione reductase (GR), and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). The results indicate that lead caused a significant oxidative response, with significant increase of the enzymatic antioxidant defense (GSTs activity in hepatic tissue, and GR activity in branchial tissue) of exposed organisms. On the other hand, zinc caused a significant inhibition of G. holbrooki hepatic GR, a biological response that may be related to the antioxidant activity exhibited by this metal. The obtained results are of high importance, especially if one considers that the obtained toxic responses occurred at low, albeit ecologically relevant, levels of exposure.


Glutathione Reductase Gill Tissue Oxidative Stress Parameter Exposed Fish Metallic Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Joana L. Pereira is recipient of an individual scholarship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/BPD/101971/2014). This study was supported by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE and by national funds through Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) under the scope of the project BiOtoMetal (PTDC/AMB/70431/2006).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Nunes
    • 1
  • Carina Caldeira
    • 1
  • Joana Luísa Pereira
    • 1
  • Fernando Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Alberto Teodorico Correia
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM)Universidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR/CIMAR)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Fernando Pessoa (FCS-UFP)PortoPortugal

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