Waterborne copper is more toxic to the killifish Poecilia vivipara in elevated temperatures: Linking oxidative stress in the liver with reduced organismal thermal performance.


Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Fisiológicas, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, 96203-900, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


In this study, we measured the interactive effect of temperature (22 °C and 28 °C) and waterborne copper (Cu) contamination (9 μg/L and 20 μg/L) on the killifish Poecilia vivipara. Endpoints analyzed included parameters involved in Cu-accumulation, antioxidant capacity (antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals [ACAP] and total antioxidant capacity [TAC]), oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation [LPO]) and upper thermal tolerance (critical thermal maximum [CTMax]). Results show that Cu hepatic accumulation was elevated in 28 °C in comparison to 22 °C in both exposure groups. For gills, this was true only in 20 μg/L. Moreover, hepatic and brachial accumulation were concentration-dependent in both acclimation temperatures. Additionally, Hepatic ACAP and TAC were elevated in animals acclimated to 28 °C and only the animals kept at this temperature had reduced ACAP and TAC levels facing metal exposure (9 and 20 μg/L). Similarly, the combination of elevated temperature and Cu exposure raised hepatic LPO levels. Finally, animals acclimated to 28 °C had higher CTMax levels in comparison to fish acclimated to 22 °C both in control and exposed animals, however, CTMax of contaminated fish were only reduced in comparison to control in animals kept at 28 °C. Concluding, we show that the physiological mechanism besides the potentiating effect of elevated temperature in Cu toxicity is related to higher hepatic and branchial metal accumulation and elevated oxidative stress in the liver, outlined by reduced antioxidant capacity and elevated oxidative damage. We also show that these outcomes lead to compromised organismal performance, characterized by reduced CTMax. Finally, it is concluded that Cu exposure in warmer periods of the year or within global warming predictions may be more hazardous to fish populations.


Antioxidant system,Biomarker,Critical thermal maximum,Ecotoxicology,Metal accumulation,Oxidative damage,Trace metals,

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