The present field study, conducted during the spawning period (April/May) of European chub (Squalius cephalus L.) from the Sava River in Croatia, indicates that seasonal changes of fish physiological state might cause variability in gastrointestinal metal (Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn), total cytosolic protein and metallothionein (MT) levels. During the period of fish spawning and increased metabolic activity, a significant relationship with chub hepatosomatic index was evident for Fe and Mn in gastrointestinal tissue (r = 0.35 and 0.26, respectively) and in cytosolic fraction (r = 0.32 and 0.41, respectively) and for Zn and Fe in the gut content (r = 0.36 and 0.31, respectively). Total cytosolic protein and MT concentrations followed the same spatial distribution as Fe and Mn in all gastrointestinal fractions and as Zn in the sub-cellular fractions, with higher levels at upstream locations. Due to the role of essential metals in metabolic processes and gonad development, increased feeding and spawning activity in April/May resulted in higher gastrointestinal essential metal (Fe, Mn and Zn) and MT concentrations, which probably follow an increase in Zn concentrations, known as the primary MT inducer. Therefore, biotic factors should be considered as important confounding factors in metal exposure assessment, while their influence on gastrointestinal metal and protein levels should be interpreted depending on the season studied.
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Financial support by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of Republic Croatia (project no. 098-0982934-2721) is acknowledged. The authors are also grateful for the valuable help in the field work to all EU FP6 SARIB Project participants and for the useful pieces of advice concerning metal determination on HR ICP-MS to Dr. Nevenka Mikac, Dr. Vibor Roje and Dr. Željka Fiket and on AAS to Dr. Zrinka Dragun. We appreciate the assistance of the Meteorological and Hydrological Service Office for reporting the data on hydrological parameters of the Sava River water.
Responsible editor: Thomas Braunbeck
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Filipović Marijić, V., Raspor, B. Relevance of biotic parameters in the assessment of the spatial distribution of gastrointestinal metal and protein levels during spawning period of European chub (Squalius cephalus L.). Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 7596–7606 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-014-2666-5
- Hepatosomatic index
- Gut content
- Essential metals
- Total cytosolic proteins