Sub-lethal effects of waterborne copper in early developmental stages of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019 Apr 15; 170:778-788.EE
The aim of this work was to study the impact of copper during a sub-chronic exposure to environmental concentrations in the early life stages of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Eyed-stage embryos of rainbow trout, at 265 °D, were exposed in semi-static conditions to sub-lethal concentrations of CuSO4 up to the larval stage (528 °D) under laboratory-controlled conditions. During 3 weeks, they were exposed to the environmentally-realistic concentration of 2 µg/L Cu and to a 10-fold higher concentration, 20 µg/L Cu. Several biological (survival, hatching success, malformation, growth) and behavioral (swimming activity) and molecular endpoints (genotoxicity and gene transcription) were studied. Exposure to 20 µg/L Cu had an inhibitory effect on hatching and increased half-hatched embryos (25%). At the end of the exposure, no significant differences were observed in growth of the larvae exposed to the highest Cu concentration. However, larvae exposed to 2 µg/L Cu exhibited increased growth in comparison with non-exposed larvae. The percentage of malformed larvae was significantly higher for both copper conditions, with skeletal malformations being the most observed. Expression of several genes was evaluated in whole larvae using quantitative real-time PCR. Genes involved in detoxification (gst, mt1 and mt2) and in cell cycle arrest (p53) were significantly repressed in both copper conditions when compared to control. In addition, potential genotoxic effects on larvae were investigated by the comet assay on blood cells, but this test did not demonstrate any significant DNA damage on larvae exposed to copper. This study confirms the adverse effects of copper on early life stages of rainbow trout even at the lowest environmentally relevant tested concentration.