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Chemosphere. 2011 Oct;85(6):983-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.06.078. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Cobalt-induced oxidative stress in brain, liver and kidney of goldfish Carassius auratus.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Precarpathian National University named after Vassyl Stefanyk, Ivano-Frankivsk 76025, Ukraine.


Cobalt is an essential element, but at high concentrations it is toxic. In addition to its well-known function as an integral part of cobalamin (vitamin B₁₂), cobalt has recently been shown to be a mimetic of hypoxia and a stimulator of the production of reactive oxygen species. The present study investigated the responses of goldfish, Carassius auratus, to 96 h exposure to 50, 100 or 150 mg L⁻¹ Co²⁺ in aquarium water (administered as CoCl₂). The concentrations of cobalt in aquaria did not change during fish exposure. Exposure to cobalt resulted in increased levels of lipid peroxides in brain (a 111% increase after exposure to 150 mg L⁻¹ Co²⁺) and liver (30-66% increases after exposure to 50-150 mg L⁻¹ Co²⁺), whereas the content of protein carbonyls rose only in kidney (by 112%) after exposure to 150 mg L⁻¹ cobalt. Low molecular mass thiols were depleted by 24-41% in brain in response to cobalt treatment. The activities of primary antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, were substantially suppressed in brain and liver as a result of Co²⁺ exposure, whereas in kidney catalase activity was unchanged and SOD activity increased. The activities of glutathione-related enzymes, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase, did not change as a result of cobalt exposure, but glutathione reductase activity increased by ∼40% and ∼70% in brain and kidney, respectively. Taken together, these data show that exposure of fish to Co²⁺ ions results in the development of oxidative stress and the activation of defense systems in different goldfish tissues.

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