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Changes in the life-cycle parameters and glutathione-related antioxidant defense system of rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus under the combined stress of microcystin-LR and ammonia


Serious cyanobacterial blooms lead to the release of harmful microcystin-LR and ammonia to eutrophic waters, thereby posing serious challenges to zooplankton. The physiological and ecological responses of Brachionus calyciflorus Pallas to microcystin-LR and ammonia stresses were evaluated. Neonates (< 2 h old) were exposed to microcystin-LR (0, 10, 50, 100, and 200 µg L−1) and ammonia (0, 740, and 1580 µg L−1) single solutions and mixtures. High doses of 200 µg L−1 microcystin-LR and 1580 µg L−1 ammonia and mixtures of these two toxicants exhibited negative effects on the rotifer net reproduction rate (R0), intrinsic growth rate (rm), and enzymatic activities of glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione S-transferase (GST). Microcystin-LR combined with ammonia decreased the generation time (T), Na+/K+–adenosine triphosphatase (Na+/K+–ATPase) activity, and glutathione reductase (GR) activity, but promoted the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in rotifers (p < 0.05). The ROS levels were negatively correlated with GSH-related enzymatic activities (p < 0.01). Microcystin-LR and ammonia exerted synergistic effects on R0, rm, and ROS levels and GSH, GR, and GST activities (p < 0.05), but had antagonistic effects on T, Na+/K+–ATPase activity, and GPx activity (p > 0.05). Microcystis metabolites negatively affected growth and reproductive performance of B. calyciflorus. In addition, the life-cycle parameters were related to the effects of microcystin-LR and ammonia on the GSH-related antioxidant defense system of rotifers.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Numbers: 31772458 and 31272388), Science Foundation for Young Scientists of Jiangsu in China (Grant Number: 20171093), the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (Grant Number: 19KJB180020), and the Startup Foundation for Introducing Talent of NUIST (Grant Number: 131061901013).

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Correspondence to Jiaxin Yang.

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Liang, Y., Shao, L., Jiang, Q. et al. Changes in the life-cycle parameters and glutathione-related antioxidant defense system of rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus under the combined stress of microcystin-LR and ammonia. Aquat Ecol 54, 243–256 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-019-09739-8

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  • Rotifer
  • Microcystis metabolites
  • Toxicological effects
  • Ecological response
  • Enzyme activities