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Oxidative stress biomarkers in two resident species, mullet (Mugil cephalus) and flounder (Platichthys flesus), from a polluted site in River Douro Estuary, Portugal
Ferreira, M.; Moradas-Ferreira, P.; Reis-Henriques, M.A. (2005). Oxidative stress biomarkers in two resident species, mullet (Mugil cephalus) and flounder (Platichthys flesus), from a polluted site in River Douro Estuary, Portugal. Aquat. Toxicol. 71(1): 39-48.
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Marine fish; Oxidation; Pollution effects; Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Platichthys flesus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, Portugal [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ferreira, M.
  • Moradas-Ferreira, P.
  • Reis-Henriques, M.A.

    Exposure of marine animals to certain pollutants can enhance reactive oxygen species (ROS) production with subsequent damage to macromolecules and alterations in oxidant defences levels. Aimed at correlating the tissue concentration of certain contaminants (PCBs, DDT) with antioxidant defence levels and oxidative damages, two fish species with different life strategies (mullet, Mugil cephalus, and flounder, Platichthys flesus) were collected in the Douro Estuary (NW Portugal). After capture, the fish were left to depurate for 1 month in clean seawater. The levels of the two antioxidant enzyme activities revealed that they are species-dependent with mullet's livers showing higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) (13.2 ± 0.5 U/mg protein) and catalase (CAT) (15.5 ± 1.0 mmol/min/mg protein) activities than flounder (SOD: 7.9 ± 0.9 U/mg protein; CAT: 11.1 ± 0.8 mmol/min/mg protein). After 1 month in captivity the antioxidant enzymes activities in liver decreased in mullets, while for flounders the responses were not consistent because during the experimental period flounders did not ate and responses of antioxidant enzymes and oxidative damages were dependent on the fasting condition. The liver oxidative damages were evaluated by estimating oxidised lipids and proteins. Both species showed similar levels for these two parameters. The hepatic lipid peroxidation in flounder increased after 1 month in captivity, while in mullet an increase was observed only in summer and autumn. The oxidised protein content increased for both species after the depuration period. This study reveals differences between species under oxidative stress when exposed to pollutants. In a clean environment, the mullet's primary antioxidant defences decreased indicating that the animals living in Douro estuary were facing an oxidative stress. The data indicate that, namely in mullet, the presence of pollutants induce oxidative stress responses.

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