Nonlinear responses to waterborne cadmium exposure in zebrafish. Anin vivostudy

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Cadmium (Cd) has proved to be associated with numerous toxic effects in aquatic organisms via waterborne exposure. With a view to investigate Cd toxicity along a broad spectrum of exposures reaching from environmental to toxic, we employed adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) for an in vivo study. A number of 10 fish per tank were placed in 40 L tanks and were exposed for 30 days to 0.0, 5.0, 25, 50, 75, 100 and 1000 μg Cd per liter. There were 2 tanks for each Cd exposure (duplicate experiment). Mortality was recorded daily, dead fish were collected and tissue samples were obtained for histologic observation, whereas remaining tissues were stored for Cd burden determination. Surviving fish were collected at the end of the experiment. Median overall survival (OS) in days was found to be 9.0, 11.0, 8.0 and 7.0 for 25 μg/L, 50 μg/L, 75 μg/L and 100 μg/L respectively, with all of them showing mortality greater than 50%. Remarkably, fish exposed to the highest Cd concentration (1000 μg/L) survived the longest exhibiting a mean OS of 29.2 days. Cd determination in fish tissue was conducted with an in house ICP-MS method and levels ranged from 3.1 to 29.1 ng/mg. Log Cd tissue levels were significantly correlated with the log Cd exposure levels (r = 0.535, p < 0.001). The highest Cd burden was determined for fish exposed to 1000 μg Cd /L (mean = 12.2 ng/mg). Histopathology supported these results. Our findings disclose a deviation in toxic responses through the range of Cd concentrations, leading to nonlinear responses. These differentiated responses, could be linked to hormesis phenomena.

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