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TitleBrain morphometric profiles and their seasonal modulation in fish (Liza aurata) inhabiting a mercury contaminated estuary
Author(s)Puga, Sónia Andreia Silva
Cardoso, Vera Maria Varela
Pinto-Ribeiro, Filipa
Pacheco, Mário
Almeida, Armando
Pereira, Patrícia
Environmental Exposure
Water Pollutants, Chemical
Environmental Monitoring
Brain morphology
Seasonal variation
Issue dateJun-2018
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Abstract(s)Mercury (Hg) is a potent neurotoxicant known to induce important adverse effects on fish, but a deeper understanding is lacking regarding how environmental exposure affects the brain morphology and neural plasticity of specific brain regions in wild specimens. In this work, it was evaluated the relative volume and cell density of the lateral pallium, hypothalamus, optic tectum and molecular layer of the cerebellum on wild Liza aurata captured in Hg-contaminated (LAR) and non-contaminated (SJ) sites of a coastal system (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal). Given the season-related variations in the environment that fish are naturally exposed, this assessment was performed in the winter and summer. Hg triggered a deficit in cell density of hypothalamus during the winter that could lead to hormonal dysfunctions, while in the summer Hg promoted larger volumes of the optic tectum and cerebellum, indicating the warm period as the most critical for the manifestation of putative changes in visual acuity and motor-dependent tasks. Moreover, in fish from the SJ site, the lateral pallium relative volume and the cell density of the hypothalamus and optic tectum were higher in the winter than in summer. Thus, season-related stimuli strongly influence the size and/or cell density of specific brain regions in the non-contaminated area, pointing out the ability of fish to adapt to environmental and physiological demands. Conversely, fish from the Hg-contaminated site showed a distinct seasonal profile of brain morphology, presenting a larger optic tectum in the summer, as well as a larger molecular layer of the cerebellum with higher cell density. Moreover, Hg exposure impaired the winter-summer variation of the lateral pallium relative size (as observed at SJ). Altogether, seasonal variations in fish neural morphology and physiology should be considered when performing ecotoxicological studies in order to better discriminate the Hg neurotoxicity.
AccessEmbargoed access (3 Years)
Appears in Collections:ICVS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais com Referee

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