Brown trout, Salmo trutta, were collected from two sites contaminated with cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) and one uncontaminated site. These fish were subjected to a continuous confinement stressor in wire cages placed in the river (moderate stress) or in 5-gal. plastic buckets on land (severe stress). Plasma cortisol and corticotropin (ACTH) were determined for fish in buckets by radioimmunoassay after 0, 1, 3, 12, or 24 h of confinement. Plasma cortisol and ACTH levels of brown trout from both contaminated and uncontaminated sites initially were the same and increased with time. However, the rise in plasma cortisol was delayed significantly in fish residing in contaminated sites, even though ACTH secretion initially was elevated compared with control trout. Furthermore, secretion of cortisol and ACTH by these fish declined significantly between 3 and 24 h of confinement. Fish from the uncontaminated site responded more rapidly to confinement with increased cortisol secretion and elevated levels of ACTH and continued to exhibit elevated levels of both hormones up to 24 h of confinement. Caged fish examined after 0, 3, 12, and 24 h of confinement exhibited similar plasma cortisol responses regardless of previous exposure to metals. These results suggest that the overall response to severe, short-term confinement stress by the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis of fish chronically exposed to Cd and Zn was depressed and that these fish could not sustain the stress response as readily as fish living in uncontaminated water.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology