, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 1369–1381 | Cite as

Linking behavioural alterations with biomarkers responses in the European seabass Dicentrarchus labrax L. exposed to the organophosphate pesticide fenitrothion

  • Joana R. Almeida
  • Cristiana Oliveira
  • Carlos Gravato
  • Lúcia Guilhermino


The acute effects of the organophosphate insecticide fenitrothion on Dicentrarchus labrax juveniles were investigated through a bioassay using biomarkers and swimming behaviour as effect criteria. After 96 h of exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of fenitrothion, the swimming velocity and several biomarkers were individually determined, namely: brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity; muscle cholinesterases (ChE), lactate dehydrogenase and isocitrate dehydrogenase activities; liver ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD), glutathione S-transferases, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities and lipid peroxidation levels (LPO). A significant decrease of the swimming velocity (LOEC = 2 mg l−1), an inhibition of both AChE (LOEC = 0.06 mg l−1) and ChE activities (LOEC = 0.03 mg l−1), and a positive and significant correlation between the swimming velocity and AChE were found in exposed fish, suggesting an influence of the inhibition of these enzymes in the swimming velocity decrease. An increase of EROD activity (LOEC = 1 mg l−1), indicating the involvement of this enzyme in fenitrothion biotransformation, and a negative and significant correlation between EROD activity and swimming velocity were also found, suggesting that the two findings may somehow be related. Furthermore, results show a significant induction of SOD (LOEC = 0.13 mg l−1) without LPO increase, suggesting that the enzyme is preventing oxidative stress damage. No significant alterations were found in any of the other parameters tested. Thus, exposure of seabass to fenitrothion in the wild at concentrations similar to those tested here may have adverse consequences at population level as neurotransmission and swimming ability are essential for fish performance and survival.


Dicentrarchus labrax Swimming velocity Fenitrothion AChE activity Biotransformation Oxidative stress defences 



This study was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and FEDER European funds through the project “RAMOCS—Implementation of Risk Assessment Methodologies for Oil and Chemical Spills in the European Marine Environment” (ERA-AMPERA/0001/2007), in the scope of the EU ERA-NET AMPERA project (Contract No. ERAC-CT2005-016165). J. R. Almeida received a PhD grant (SFRH/BD/40843/2007) from FCT with social funds of MCTES (POPH-QREN-Tipology 4.2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana R. Almeida
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristiana Oliveira
    • 1
  • Carlos Gravato
    • 1
  • Lúcia Guilhermino
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CIIMAR—Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Laboratório de Ecotoxicologia e EcologiaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.ICBAS—Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar, Laboratório de EcotoxicologiaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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