Nutritional status as the key modulator of antioxidant responses induced by high environmental ammonia and salinity stress in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

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© 2015 Sinha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Salinity fluctuation is one of the main factors affecting the overall fitness of marine fish. In addition, water borne ammonia may occur simultaneously with salinity stress. Additionally, under such stressful circumstances, fish may encounter food deprivation. The physiological and ion-osmo regulatory adaptive capacities to cope with all these stressors alone or in combination are extensively addressed in fish. To date, studies revealing the modulation of antioxidant potential as compensatory response to multiple stressors are rather lacking. Therefore, the present work evaluated the individual and combined effects of salinity challenge, ammonia toxicity and nutritional status on oxidative stress and antioxidant status in a marine teleost, European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Fish were acclimated to normal seawater (32 ppt), to brackish water (20 ppt and 10 ppt) and to hypo-saline water (2.5 ppt). Following acclimation to different salinities for two weeks, fish were exposed to high environmental ammonia (HEA, 20 mg/L representing 50% of 96h LC<inf>50</inf> value for ammonia) for 12 h, 48 h, 84 h and 180 h, and were either fed (2% body weight) or fasted (unfed for 7 days prior to HEA exposure). Results show that in response to decreasing salinities, oxidative stress indices such as xanthine oxidase activity, levels of hydrogen peroxide (H<inf>2</inf>O<inf>2</inf>) and lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde, MDA) increased in the hepatic tissue of fasted fish but remained unaffected in fed fish. HEA exposure at normal salinity (32 ppt) and at reduced salinities (20 ppt and 10 ppt) increased ammonia accumulation significantly (84 h-180 h) in both feeding regimes which was associated with an increment of H<inf>2</inf>O<inf>2</inf> and MDA contents. Unlike in fasted fish, H<inf>2</inf>O<inf>2</inf> and MDA levels in fed fish were restored to control levels (84 h-180 h); with a concomitant increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), components of the glutathione redox cycle (reduced glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity and reduced ascorbate (ASC) content. On the contrary, fasted fish could not activate many of these protective systems and rely mainly on CAT and ASC dependent pathways as antioxidative sentinels. The present findings exemplify that in fed fish single factors and a combination of HEA exposure and reduced seawater salinities (upto 10 ppt) were insufficient to cause oxidative damage due to the highly competent antioxidant system compared to fasted fish. However, the impact of HEA exposure at a hypo-saline environment (2.5 ppt) also defied antioxidant defence system in fed fish, suggesting this combined factor is beyond the tolerance range for both feeding groups. Overall, our results indicate that the oxidative stress mediated by the experimental conditions were exacerbated during starvation, and also suggest that feed deprivation particularly at reduced seawater salinities can instigate fish more susceptible to ammonia toxicity.




Sinha, A. K., AbdElgawad, H., Zinta, G., Dasan, A. F., Rasoloniriana, R., Asard, H., … De Boeck, G. (2015). Nutritional status as the key modulator of antioxidant responses induced by high environmental ammonia and salinity stress in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). PLoS ONE, 10(8).

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