DAO 63:77-84 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao063077

Joint effects of parasitism and pollution on oxidative stress biomarkers in yellow perch Perca flavescens

David J. Marcogliese*, Lila Gagnon Brambilla, François Gagné, Andrée D. Gendron

Environment Canada, St. Lawrence Centre, 105 McGill, 7th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2E7, Canada

ABSTRACT: Yellow perch Perca flavescens were collected from a contaminated site and a reference site in the St. Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada. Fish were assessed for oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation and reduced glutathione levels) and parasitism by the nematode Raphidascaris acus and metacercariae of the digenean Apophallus brevis. Lipid peroxidation is not only considered a measure of oxidative stress, but of stress in general, and thus serves as an indicator of fish health. Fish from the contaminated site exhibited higher levels of lipid peroxidation than those from the reference site, independent of parasitic infections. However, fish infected with R. acus at the contaminated site tended to have higher levels of lipid peroxidation than uninfected fish at the same site, whereas no difference was observed between infected and uninfected fish at the reference site. Yellow perch infected with >10 metacercariae of A. brevis expressed higher levels of lipid peroxidation than those infected with <10 metacercariae at both the contaminated and the reference sites. No differences were found in levels of reduced glutathione in liver or muscle in relation to site or either parasite species. Results support the use of lipid peroxidation as a biomarker of water contamination. They further suggest that lipid peroxidation may be used as a biomarker of pathological effects caused by parasitism. Most importantly, results demonstrate that contaminants and parasites occurring together exacerbate oxidative stress in fish, suggesting that parasitized fish in polluted environments are in a poorer state of health than uninfected fish.

KEY WORDS: Lipid peroxidation · Pollution · Parasitism · Stress · Yellow perch · Perca flavescens · Raphidascaris acus · Apophallus brevis

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