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Multi-biomarker Assessment in a Native Species Psalidodon eigenmanniorum Under Inorganic Mercury and Recovery Scenarios

Abstract

The increasing contamination of water bodies with mercury raises concerns about its possible effects on aquatic organisms. The combined use of several biomarkers allows researchers to study the impact of a chemical at different levels of biological organization. In the present work, we determined the response of histological (gills and liver), somatic (condition factor and hepato-somatic index), and behavioral (predator–prey relationship, through the presentation of a computer-animated image) biomarkers in the native species Psalidodon eigenmanniorum exposed to 100 µg L−1 of inorganic Hg (IHg) during 96 h. We also assessed whether there was a change in the biomarkers analyzed after 7 days in Hg-free water compared with those exposed to IHg. In exposed fish, IHg caused damage to the gills and liver tissues. The condition factor showed no difference between IHg-exposed organisms and control organisms, while the hepato-somatic index was lower in IHg-exposed fish. As for the behavioral analyses, it was observed that the presentation of a stimulus induced changes in the behavioral responses of fish exposed to IHg, which showed a heightened state of alertness with respect to control. On the other hand, after 7 days in Hg-free water, the organisms generally showed no changes in biomarkers compared with IHg-exposed fish. Our results contribute new data on IHg toxicity in a native species and provide information on the plasticity of damage to reverse itself. Furthermore, this work provides baseline information for environmental assessments in water bodies where mercury is present.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET, PIP 112-201101-01084) 461 and the Science and Technology Office (SECYT, 2014–2015. Res no.: 203/14) of the National University of Córdoba (Argentina) for grants and subsidies. We also thank Joaquín Gastaminza for his help during sample measurement with the ICP-MS.

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Authors

Contributions

The authors' contributions are as follows: Paola L. Garnero conducted the laboratory experiments, directed mercury measurements and histological and behavioral data analyses, and wrote the article. María L. Ballesteros collaborated with the behavioral analysis and revision of the manuscript. Magdalena V. Monferran provided expertise in mercury measurements and conceptualization. Natalia G. Rivetti contributed to laboratory tests and data interpretation. María de los Ángeles Bistoni collaborated with the experimental design, conceptualization, and project administration. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paola L. Garnero.

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Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

The use of experimental animals followed the guidelines of the Bioethics and Animal Welfare Committee of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council—Argentina (Res 1047/2005), Argentina. The protocol was approved (Acta 04/2018) by the Institutional Committee for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (CICUAL) of the Institute of Animal Diversity and Ecology (IDEA-CONICET).

Competing interests

The authors state that there are no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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Garnero, P.L., Ballesteros, M.L., Monferran, M.V. et al. Multi-biomarker Assessment in a Native Species Psalidodon eigenmanniorum Under Inorganic Mercury and Recovery Scenarios. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 83, 142–154 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-022-00946-3

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