Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 3756–3765 | Cite as

Perturbations in ROS-related processes of the fish Gambusia holbrooki after acute and chronic exposures to the metals copper and cadmium

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


Metallic contamination is a widespread phenomena, particularly in areas impacted by human activities, and has become a relevant environmental concern. However, the toxicity of metals on fish requires full characterization in terms of short- and long-term effects. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the acute and chronic oxidative stress response in liver and gills of Gambusia holbrooki exposed to copper and cadmium. To assess the effects of these two metals, we adopted a strategy of analyzing the pollution effects caused by salts of the two metallic elements, and we quantified the oxidative stress biomarkers catalase, glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-transferases, and lipid peroxidation after exposure (4 and 28 days) to ecologically relevant concentrations, thus simulating actual conditions of exposure in the wild. Our results showed that copper elicited strong effects in all tested biomarkers for both acute and chronic challenges. Cadmium caused a similar response and was shown to cause significant changes particularly in catalase and glutathione-S-transferases activities. These findings evidence that ecologically relevant concentrations of common anthropogenic contaminants are causative agents of serious imbalances (namely oxidative stress) that are likely to trigger life-threatening events.


Freshwater fish Metals Oxidative stress Enzymes Ecologically relevant exposure Biomarkers Mosquito fish 



Joana L. Pereira is recipient of an individual scholarship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/BPD/44733/2008). This study was supported by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE and by national funds through FCT under the scope of the project BiOtoMetal (PTDC/AMB/70431/2006).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

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.Faculdade de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade Fernando PessoaPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR–CIMAR)PortoPortugal

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