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Occurrence of copper acclimation in the least killifish Heterandria formosa, and associated biochemical and physiological mechanisms

Authors
Journal
Aquatic Toxicology
0166-445X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.01.001
Keywords
  • Least Killifish
  • Cu Acclimation
  • Sublethal Endpoints
  • Metallothionein Induction
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Design

Abstract

Abstract We investigated the occurrence of copper acclimation in the least killifish, Heterandria formosa using both lethal and sublethal endpoints. We also investigated potential mechanisms underlying the observed acclimation. To assess the occurrence of acclimation, fish were exposed to either a background Cu level or to 15μg/L Cu for seven days and subsequently exposed to a lethal Cu level (150μg/L Cu). During the latter exposure, fish were monitored for survival till all fish had died, and (during the first 8h of this exposure) for changes in whole-body Na levels and lipid peroxidation (LPO). During the high-level Cu exposure, fish pre-exposed to copper had a significantly longer time-to-death than did the control fish. Similarly, neither whole-body Na nor LPO changed in the Cu-pre-exposed fish during the 8h of the exposure to 150μg/L Cu – while both decreased significantly in the control fish. Thus, acclimation was evident for both time-to-death and the sublethal endpoints. These results also indicate that Cu toxicity may involve both Na loss and LPO, and that Cu-acclimation may be brought about by prevention of these effects. Our follow-up study on potential mechanisms underlying this copper acclimation used a similar pre-exposure/exposure design. Fish were subsampled at the end of the 7-day acclimation period – just before the commencement of high-level Cu exposure (T0), after 4h of this Cu exposure (T4), and again after 8h of this Cu exposure (T8). Whole-body Cu accumulation, Na+/K+-ATPase activity, metallothionein levels, and catalase activity were quantified for these time points. While Cu levels were higher in the Cu-pre-exposed fish than in the control fish at T0, net Cu accumulation was faster in the control fish than in the Cu-pre-exposed fish during the subsequent high-level Cu exposure. Consequently, changes in Cu accumulation dynamics may play a role in the resistance. Metallothionein induction may also play a role in the observed acclimation, as Cu-acclimated fish had a significantly higher metallothionein concentration compared to the control fish. There was no evidence of involvement of Na+/K+-ATPase in the acclimation, as the activity of this enzyme remained lower in the pre-exposed fish than in the control fish throughout both Cu exposure periods. There was limited evidence that a reduced loss of catalase activity plays a role in the acclimation; catalase activity did not differ after the pre-exposure period but was significantly higher in Cu-acclimated fish than in the control fish at T8.

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