Oxidative Stress in Fish induced by Environmental Pollutants

Anton Kováčik


Environmental pollutants represent a risk factor for human and animals in all areas of occurrence. Environmental pollution caused by anthropogenic activities is a major problem in many countries. Numbers of studies deals with cumulation of xenobiotics in tissues but not all respond to the real impact on living organisms. Freshwater fishes are exposed to several anthropogenic contaminants. The most commonly studied are three metals: mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd). These contaminants could have several impacts to oxidative stress. In the normal healthy cell, ROS and pro-oxidant products are detoxified by antioxidant defences. Redox-active or Redox-inactive metals may cause an increase in production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mercury has a high affinity for thiol groups, and can non-specifically affect several enzymes, e. g. GSH (glutathione), which can induce GSH depletion and oxidative stress in tissue, also can induce lipid peroxidation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The toxicity of Cd to aquatic species depends on speciation, with the free ion, Cd2+ concentration being proportional to bioavailability. Cadmium toxicity worsened of Ca, Na, and Mg ions homeostasis. Lead can be toxic to nervous and skeletal systems; at cellular level can cause apoptosis, also can affect mitochondria, neurotransmitters, and can substitute for Ca. 


heavy metals; oxidative stress; pollutants

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