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Branchial versus intestinal zinc uptake in wild yellow perch (Perca flavescens) from reference and metal-contaminated aquatic ecosystems

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Zinc is an essential micronutrient for freshwater fish but can be toxic to them at elevated concentrations. Therefore, the regulation of zinc uptake is important in maintaining homeostasis when fish are chronically exposed to elevated zinc in nature. This study examined the kinetics of in vivo branchial and in vitro intestinal zinc uptake in wild yellow perch (Perca flavescens) from metal-contaminated and reference lakes in northern Ontario. The results showed that the branchial zinc uptake involves high-affinity transport sites, whereas the intestinal zinc uptake involves low-affinity transport sites. Interestingly, significant alterations in the branchial zinc uptake (reduced affinity, increased maximum transport rate) but no apparent changes in the intestinal zinc uptake characteristics were observed in the metal-impacted yellow perch population relative to the reference population. Subsequently, no differences in zinc concentrations of gill, liver, and whole body were recorded between reference and metal-impacted yellow perch populations. Overall, our study indicated that the gill, not the gut, likely plays a critical role in maintaining the zinc homeostasis in wild fish under chronic exposure.

Le zinc est un micro-nutriment essentiel aux poissons d’eau douce, mais il peut devenir toxique aux concentrations élevées. C’est pourquoi la régulation de l’absorption du zinc est importante pour le maintien de l’homéostasie chez les poissons qui sont exposés de manière chronique à de fortes concentrations de zinc en nature. Notre étude examine la cinétique de l’absorption du zinc in vivo dans les branchies et in vitro dans l’intestin chez des perchaudes (Perca flavescens) sauvages du nord de l’Ontario provenant de lacs contaminés par le zinc et de lacs témoins. Nos résultats montrent que l’absorption du zinc dans les branchies se fait par des sites de transport de haute affinité, alors que l’absorption intestinale du zinc se fait par des sites de transport de faible affinité. Curieusement, nous observons chez la population de perchaudes affectées par le zinc, mais non chez la population témoin, des modifications importantes de l’absorption du zinc par les branchies (affinité réduite, accroissement du taux maximum de transport), mais aucun changement apparent dans les caractéristiques d’absorption intestinale du zinc. Par la suite, il n’y a pas de différences dans les concentrations de zinc des branchies, du foie et du corps entier chez la population témoin et la population de perchaudes affectées par le zinc. Dans son ensemble, notre étude montre que ce sont les branchies, et non le tube digestif, qui jouent un rôle critique dans le maintien de l’homéostasie du zinc chez les poissons sauvages dans des conditions d’exposition chronique.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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