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The role of metallothionein and selenium in metal detoxification in the liver of deep-sea fish from the NW Mediterranean Sea

August 30, 2013

Seven deep-sea fish species were sampled in the Blanes Canyon area (NW Mediterranean) at a depth of 1200 m during winter. The concentrations of nine metals were determined in the liver of these species by ICP-MS. Furthermore, the metal detoxification potential was determined for each species by analysing the hepatic metallothionein (MT) content, relations between metals and the molar ratio between MT and/or selected metals. The potential effect of metal content on their physiology was assessed using general stress markers such as the enzyme activities of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in muscle.

Levels of metals in the seven Mediterranean deep-sea fish species studied were intermediate to equivalent species of fish either from Atlantic waters or hydrothermal vents. The metal detoxification potential varied among species depending on MT, selenium (Se) or zinc (Zn) as reliable mechanisms to handle potential metal toxicity. The role of Se was especially relevant when the liver content of mercury (Hg) was higher. AChE and LDH activities did seem to be affected by metal loads and thus the activities reported would correspond to baseline activities of the selected species.

Siscar R, Koenig S, Torreblanca A, Solé M, 2013, The role of metallothionein and selenium in metal detoxification in the liver of deep-sea fish from the NW Mediterranean Sea, Science of the Total Environment, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.081. Article.

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