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Chemosphere. 2007 Aug;69(1):170-5. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Exposure to sublethal concentrations of Zn(II) and Cu(II) changes biochemical parameters in Leporinus obtusidens.

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Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Santa Maria, 97105.900 Santa Maria, RS, Brazil.


The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of the exposure of Leporinus obtusidens (Piava) to zinc and copper on catalase activity in the liver, delta-aminolevulinate dehidratase (delta-ALA-D) activity in liver, muscle, brain and kidney, and thiobarbituric reactive species (TBARS) in brain, muscle and liver. In addition, hematological parameters were measured in blood. The fish were exposed to 10% and 20% of the derived LC(50) values, 2.3 and 4.6 mg Zn l(-1) and 0.02 and 0.04 mg Cu l(-1), and sampled on days 30 and 45. Exposure to Zn(II) and Cu(II) decreased hematological parameters and also delta-ALA-D activity mainly in liver and kidney at all concentrations tested. Liver catalase activity increased after zinc or copper exposure at all concentrations and exposure times tested. Thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) increased in the brain and liver of the fish exposed to zinc(II) for 45 days at both metal concentrations. In muscle, zinc(II) increased TBARS production at both exposure times and concentrations tested. Copper(II) exposure reduced the TBARS levels in liver at both concentrations and times tested. In brain, there was a decrease in TBARS levels only after 45 days of exposure. In muscle, this decrease was observed after 30 days of exposure at both concentrations. Although zinc and copper are required as microelements in the cells, our results showed that the sublethal concentrations of these metals can change biochemical parameters which may alter normal cellular function. These results pointed out the differential sensitivity of fish tissues to essential, but also toxic and environmentally relevant metals. The alterations of distinct biochemical parameters in fish tissues certainly contribute to the toxicity of Zn and Cu, and are of importance for an area that has been growing and has still been poorly explored in the literature.

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