Biotransformation and Oxidative Stress Responses in Captive Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Exposed to Organic Contaminants from the Natural Environment in South Africa
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE 2015 10.1371/journal.pone.0130002
In the present study, the biotransformation and oxidative stress responses in relation to chemical burden in the liver of male and female Nile crocodiles—Crocodylus niloticus— from a commercial crocodile farm passively exposed to various anthropogenic aquatic pollutants was investigated. In general, the data showed that male crocodiles consistently produced higher biotransformation and oxidative stress responses compared to females. Relationships between these responses and concentrations of aliphatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were also observed. Specifically, the catalytic assays for EROD and BROD (not PROD and MROD) showed sex-differences between male and female crocodiles and paralleled immunochemically determined CYP1A and CYP3A protein levels; the relatively similar levels of PAHs in both sexes suggest an estrogen- mediated reduction of this pathway in females. The antioxidant system exhibited higher levels in male crocodiles with slight or significant higher values for catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione peroxidases-H2O2 (GPx-H2O2), glutathione peroxidases- Cu (GPx-Cu), total antioxidant capacity towards peroxyl radicals (TOSC-ROO) and hydroxyl radicals (TOSC-HO), total glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA). On the other hand, the activities of acyl-CoA oxidase (AOX) and glutathione S-transferases (GST) were significantly higher in females. Principal component analysis (PCA) produced significant groupings that revealed correlative relationships (both positive and negative) between biotransformation/oxidative stress variables and liver PAHs and aliphatic hydrocarbon burden. The overall results suggest that these captive pre-slaughter crocodiles exhibited adverse exposure responses to anthropogenic aquatic contaminants with potentially relevant effects on key cellular pathways, and these responses may be established as relevant species biomarkers of exposure and effects in this endangered species.