Alteration in DNA structure, molecular responses and Na+ -K+ -ATPase activities in the gill of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) in response to sub-lethal verapamil
Abstract The ecotoxicological consequences of residues from pharmaceutical drugs on aquatic biota have necessitated the development of sensitive and reliable techniques to assess the impact of these xenobiotics on aquatic organisms. This study investigated the alteration in DNA structure, molecular responses and the activities of Na + -K + -ATPase and antioxidant enzymes in the gill of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, exposed to long-term effects at the concentrations (0.14, 0.28 and 0.57mgL −1 ) of verapamil in static renewal system for 15, 30, 45 and 60 days. Evaluation of DNA structure, using single cell gel electrophoresis, revealed certain degree of DNA damages in the gill in a time and concentration-dependent relationship. Transcription of mRNA of superoxide dismutase ( sod ), catalase ( cat ) and heat shock protein ( hsp70 ) genes in the gill of the fish showed the genes were up-regulated. Na + -K + -ATPase activity was inhibited in a concentration and time dependent manner. The indices of oxidative stress biomarkers (lipid peroxidation and carbonyl protein) as well as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase were elevated in the treated fish in comparison to the control. Further, the level of reduced glutathione and catalase activity were inhibited at 0.28mgL −1 after day 30. Long-term exposure to sub-lethal concentration of verapamil can cause DNA damages, molecular effects and oxidative stress in O. niloticus . The biomarkers analysed can be used as early warning signals in environmental biomonitoring and assessment of drug contamination in aquatic ecosystem. Highlights Long-term effects of verapamil affected Oreochromis niloticus in a time and concentration-dependent relationship. Single cell gel electrophoresis was used to assess DNA damage in the fish. Gill is susceptible to the toxic effects of the drug. Toxicity of verapamil affected antioxidant system, DNA structure as well as Na + -K + -ATPase activity. Verapamil unregulated stress-related genes in the fish.
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