Analysis of Trace Element Concentrations and Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Muscle Tissue of the Atlantic Sharpnose Shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
Metals occur naturally in the environment; however, anthropogenic practices have greatly increased metal concentrations in waterways, sediments, and biota. Metals pose health risks to marine organisms and have been associated with oxidative stress, which can lead to protein denaturation, DNA mutations, and cellular apoptosis. Sharks are important species ecologically, recreationally, and commercially. Because they occupy a high trophic level, assessing muscle tissue metal concentrations in sharks may reflect metal transfer in marine food webs. In this study, concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, selenium, silver, and zinc were measured in the muscle of Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Atlantic sharpnose shark) from 12 sites along the coast of the southeastern United States. Activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase) also were examined in the muscle tissue of R. terraenovae. A total of 165 samples were analyzed, and differences in trace element bioaccumulation and enzyme activity were observed across sites. R. terraenovae samples collected from South Florida and South Carolina had the highest cumulative trace element concentrations whereas those collected from North Carolina and Alabama had the lowest cumulative concentrations. Trace element concentrations in shark muscle tissue were significantly correlated to antioxidant enzyme activity, particularly with glutathione peroxidase, suggesting that this enzyme may serve as a non-lethal, biomarker of metal exposure in R. terraenovae. This is one of the most extensive studies providing reference levels of trace elements and oxidative stress enzymes in a single elasmobranch species within the U.S.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Somerville, R., Fisher, M., Persson, L., Ehnert-Russo, S., Gelsleichter, J., Bielmyer-Fraser, G. (2020) Analysis of Trace Element Concentrations and Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Muscle Tissue of the Atlantic Sharpnose Shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 79(4), 371-390.