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Chemosphere. 2006 Nov;65(6):952-62. Epub 2006 May 24.

Anguilla anguilla L. oxidative stress biomarkers: an in situ study of freshwater wetland ecosystem (Pateira de Fermentelos, Portugal).

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Animal Physiology/Ecotoxicology Sector, Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.


Pateira de Fermentelos (PF) is a natural freshwater wetland in the central region of Portugal. In the last decade, the introduction of agricultural chemicals, heavy metals, domestic wastes, as well as eutrophication and incorrect utility of resources resulted in an increased water pollution. The present research work was carried out to check the various oxidative stress biomarker responses in European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) gill, kidney and liver due to this complex water pollution. Eels were caged and plunged at five different PF sites (A-E) for 48h. A reference site (R) was also selected at the river spring where no industrial contamination should be detected. Lipid peroxidation (LPO), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and reduced glutathione (GSH) were the oxidative stress biomarkers studied. In gill, site A exposure induced a significant GST activity increase and site B exposure induced CAT activity increase when compared to R. Site C exposure showed a significant CAT and GPX activity increase. Data concerning site D exposure were not determined due to cage disappearance. Site E exposure displayed a significant CAT and GST activity increase. In kidney, site A exposure induced a significant CAT and GPX decrease as well as a GST increase. Site B exposure showed a significant decrease in GPX activity and GSH content. However, site C exposure demonstrated a significant increase in CAT and a decrease in GPX. Site E exposure showed a significant decrease in GPX and increase in GST. In liver, site A exposure showed a significant GST activity decrease as well as GSH content increase. Site B exposure showed a significant CAT, GST and LPO decrease. Site C exposure showed only GST activity decrease, while site E exposure induced a significant increase in GPX. These investigation findings provide a rational use of oxidative stress biomarkers in freshwater ecosystem pollution biomonitoring using caged fish, and the first attempt reported in Portugal as a study of this particular watercourse under the previous conditions. The presence of pollutants in the PF water was denunciated even without a clear relation to the main pollution source distance. The organ specificity was evident for each parameter but without a clear pattern.

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