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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Jan 31;96(2):124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Cadmium bound to metal rich granules and exoskeleton from Gammarus pulex causes increased gut lipid peroxidation in zebrafish following single dietary exposure.

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Nutritional Sciences Division, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London, United Kingdom.


There has been a growing interest in establishing how the sub-cellular distribution of metals in macro-invertebrate prey affects metal trophic bioavailability and toxicity. In this study, the crustacean Gammarus pulex was exposed to 300mugCdl(-1) spiked with (109)Cd for 13 days, from which the two principal metal containing sub-cellular fractions, the metallothionein-like protein (MTLP) and the metal rich granule and exoskeleton (MRG+exo) were isolated. These fractions were produced at equal metal content, incorporated into gelatin and fed to zebrafish as a single meal; assimilation efficiency (AE), carcass and gut tissue metal concentrations and gut lipid peroxidative damage measured as malondialdehyde (MDA) were assessed. The AE of cadmium bound to the MTLP fraction was 32.1+/-5.6% which was significantly greater than the AE of MRG+exo bound Cd, 13.0+/-2.1% (p<0.05). Of the metal retained by the fish at 72h post-feeding, 94% of MTLP-Cd had been incorporated into the carcass, whereas a significant proportion (46%) of MRG+exo-Cd, although assimilated, appeared to remain associated with intestinal tissue. However, this did not translate into a gut tissue concentration difference with 6.8+/-1.2ngCdg(-1) in fish fed MTLP-Cd compared to 9.5+/-1.4ngCdg(-1) in fish fed MRG+exo fraction. Both feeds led to significantly increased MDA levels compared to the control group (gelatin only feed), but MRG+exo feed caused significantly more oxidative damage than the MTLP feed (p<0.01). Thus, MTLP-Cd is more bioavailable than the cadmium bound to granules and exoskeleton, but it was the latter fraction, largely considered as having limited bioavailability, that appeared to exert a greater localised oxidative injury to the digestive tract of zebrafish.

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