Expression pattern of potential biomarker genes related to growth, ion regulation and stress in response to ammonia exposure, food deprivation and exercise in common carp (**Cyprinus carpio**)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Aquatic toxicology. - Amsterdam
, p. 93-105
University of Antwerp
Waterborne ammonia has become a persistent pollutant of aquatic habitats. During certain periods (e.g. winter), food deprivation may occur simultaneously in natural water. Additionally, under such stressful circumstances, fish may be enforced to swim at a high speed in order to catch prey, avoid predators and so on. Consequently, fish need to cope with all these stressors by altering physiological processes which in turn are controlled by their genes. In this present study, toxicogenomic analyses using real time PCR was used to characterize expression patterns of potential biomarker genes controlling growth, ion regulation and stress responses in common carp subjected to elevated ammonia (1 mg/L; Flemish water quality guideline for surface water) following periods of feeding (2% body weight) and fasting (unfed for 7 days prior to sampling). Both feeding groups of fish were exposed to high environment ammonia (HEA) for 0 h (control), 3 h, 12 h, 1 day, 4 days, 10 days, 21 days and 28 days, and were sampled after performing swimming at different speeds (routine versus exhaustive). Results show that the activity and expression of Na+/K+-ATPase, an important branchial ion regulatory enzyme, was increased after 410 days of exposure. Effect of HEA was also evident on expression patterns of other ion-regulatory hormone and receptor genes; prolactin and cortisol receptor mRNA level(s) were down-regulated and up-regulated respectively after 4, 10 and 21 days. Starvation and exhaustive swimming, the additional challenges in present study significantly further enhanced the HEA effect on the expression of these two genes. mRNA transcript of growth regulating hormone and receptor genes such as Insulin-like growth factor I, growth hormone receptor, and the thyroid hormone receptor were reduced in response to HEA and the effect of ammonia was exacerbated in starved fish, with levels that were remarkably reduced compared to fed exposed fish. However, the expression of the growth hormone gene itself was up-regulated under the same conditions. Expression of somatolactin remained unaltered. Stress representative genes, cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 showed an up-regulation in response to HEA and starvation while the mRNA level of heat shock protein 70 was increased in response to all the three stressors. The expression kinetics of the studied genes could permit to develop a molecular biomarker system to identify the underlying physiological processes and impact of these stressors before effects at population level occur.