A gene to organism approach-assessing the impact of environmental pollution in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) females and larvae
Journal article, 2015
A broad biomarker approach was applied to study the effects of marine pollution along the Swedish west coast using the teleost eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) as the sentinel species. Measurements were performed on different biological levels, from the molecular to the organismal, including measurements of messenger RNA (mRNA), proteins, cellular and tissue changes, and reproductive success. Results revealed that eelpout captured in Stenungsund had significantly higher hepatic ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activity, high levels of both cytochrome P4501A and diablo homolog mRNA, and high prevalence of dead larvae and nuclear damage in erythrocytes. Eelpout collected in Göteborg harbor displayed extensive macrovesicular steatosis, whereby the majority of hepatocytes were affected throughout the liver, which could indicate an effect on lipid metabolism. Results also indicate that eelpouts collected at polluted sites might have an affected immune system, with lower mRNA expression of genes involved in the innate immune system and a higher number of lymphocytes. Biomarker assessment also was performed on livers dissected from unborn eelpout larvae collected from the ovary of the females. No significant differences were noted, which might indicate that the larvae to some extent are protected from effects of environmental pollutants. In conclusion, usage of the selected set of biological markers, covering responses from gene to organism, has demonstrated site-specific biomarker patterns that provided a broad and comprehensive picture of the impact of environmental stressors.