Primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses of juvenile seahorse Hippocampus reidi exposed to acute acid stress in brackish and seawater

Highlights

• Activity of antioxidant enzymes was harmed in seahorse juveniles exposed to acidic environment in brackish water.

• Lower tolerance for acidification in brackish water triggered lipid peroxidation in seahorse juveniles.

• Seahorse juvenile survival was not influenced by pH neither in brackish nor in sea water.

Abstract

Seahorse Hippocampus reidi is a vulnerable species, inhabiting estuarine and coastal waters. The safety of acidic environments for fish has been considered in terms of ocean acidification in nature and decreasing pH in intensive aquaculture systems. This study aimed to investigate the effects of acute exposition (96 h) of juvenile seahorses to different pH (5, 6, 7, and 8) in brackish (BW – salinity 11) or seawater (SW – salinity 33). For that, we studied the responses of cortisol, oxidative stress, and survival, thus covering primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses. In SW, cortisol levels were not altered for fish maintained at pH 5 and 8. However, in BW, cortisol was higher for fish kept at pH 5. Regarding secondary stress responses, only GST activity increased with acidification in SW. However, acidification in BW caused biochemical alterations at enzymatic level (SOD, GST, GPx) and glutathione metabolism, accompanied by reduction of antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and increased lipid peroxidation (TBARS). Survival was always above 90% and it did not differ significantly among pH levels. Our results suggest that H. reidi juveniles are more vulnerable to acidic exposure in BW than in SW.

Dias Carneiro M. D., García-Mesa S., Sampaio L. A. & Planas M., in press. Primary, secondary, and tertiary stress responses of juvenile seahorse Hippocampus reidi exposed to acute acid stress in brackish and seawater. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Article (subscription required).

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