The dynamic effects of different inorganic arsenic species in crucian carp (Carassius auratus) liver during chronic dietborne exposure: bioaccumulation, biotransformation and oxidative stress

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  • Di Cui
  • Haipu Li
  • Zhaoxue Zhang
  • Yang Song
  • Zhaoguang Yang

Colleges, School and Institutes


Inorganic arsenic (iAs) is highly toxic to aquatic species, but the chronic effect of iAs on fish following dietborne exposure is still unclear. In this study, freshwater fish crucian carp (Carassius auratus) was exposed to iAs [arsenite (AsIII) and arsenate (AsV)] for 40 days through dietary exposure. The bioaccumulation and biotransformation of arsenic in the main metabolic organ, liver, were measured. The oxidative stress responses to iAs exposure in liver were analyzed to be linked to arsenic biotransformation, especially methylation. In both AsIII and AsV groups, the total As contents gradually increased during the exposure and then fleetly decreased at the end of exposure (40 d). Arsenobetaine was found to be the predominated As species (34–66%) and the fraction remained on an increasing trend, while the inorganic As percentages decreased 84–91% during the 40-day exposure, suggesting that the capability of As biotransformation increased to acclimate iAs during chronic dietborne exposure. Both the activities of the enzymatic antioxidants (superoxide dismutase and catalase) and the level of the nonenzymatic antioxidant (glutathione) increased initially and then decreased, thus lowering the malondialdehyde levels and displaying a typical antioxidant defense mechanism. The opposite correlations were observed between arsenic secondary methylation index and the malondialdehyde level in different iAs treatment. This indicated that the As dimethylation played an significant role toward oxidative damage; the toxic action of As dimethylation was dependent upon the parent iAs species at the initial stage of exposure. Therefore, the effectiveness of the detoxification relied on both the biomethylation rate of As and the anti-oxidation ability based on nonenzymatic antioxidant and enzymatic antioxidant.


Original languageEnglish
Article number138737
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020


  • Arsenic, Bioaccumulation, Biotransformation, Oxidative stress, Liver, Freshwater fish