Author(s): Dethloff GM, Schlenk D, Khan S, Bailey HC
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Abstract Metals are released into aquatic systems from many sources, often at sublethal concentrations. The effects of sublethal concentrations of metals on fish are not entirely understood. The objective of this study was to determine the hematological and biochemical effects of a range of copper concentrations (6.4, 16.0, 26.9 microg Cu/L) on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) over a prolonged period of time. Trout were exposed to copper, and, at intervals of 3, 7, 14, and 21 days, selected parameters were evaluated. Hemoglobin, hematocrit, plasma glucose, and plasma cortisol levels were elevated in trout exposed to 26.9 microg Cu/L at day 3 and then returned to levels comparable to control fish. Plasma protein and lactate levels were not significantly altered in trout from any copper treatment. Hepatic copper concentration and hepatic metallothionein mRNA expression were consistently elevated in trout exposed to 26.9 microg Cu/L. Both of these parameters stabilized by day 3, with only hepatic copper concentration showing a further increase at day 21. Hepatic copper concentration and hepatic metallothionein mRNA expression appear to be robust indicators of copper exposure. Most blood-based parameters evaluated appear to be associated with a transitory, nonspecific stress response. The return of elevated hematological and biochemical parameters to control levels after 3 days and the stabilization of hepatic metallothionein mRNA expression and copper concentration over a similar time period suggested acclimation to dissolved copper at 26.9 microg/L. Further analysis of the data on blood-based parameters indicated that certain parameters (hemoglobin, hematocrit, plasma glucose, plasma cortisol) may be useful in field monitoring.
This article was published in Arch Environ Contam Toxicol
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development