Antioxidant defense system and oxidative status in Antarctic fishes: The sluggish rockcod Notothenia coriiceps versus the active marbled notothen Notothenia rossii Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Adaptive responses of antioxidant defense systems (ADS) to changes in increased levels of activity are critical, especially in Antarctic fishes. The benthopelagic marbled notothen (Notothenia rossii) shows higher spontaneous activity than the benthonic and sluggish rockcod (N. coriiceps). Therefore, we hypothesize that species-related responses of ADS would occur to counteract different rates of reactive oxygen species formation in these two Antarctic fish. Here we evaluated ADS and oxidative damage in tissues (brain, gills, liver and white muscle) of the two Antarctic fish. Despite no significant differences in lipid and protein oxidative damage were observed, we actually found species- and tissue-specific differences in ADS. Gill metallothionein-like proteins (MTLP) and liver reduced glutathione (GSH) concentrations were higher in N. coriiceps than in N. rossii. Brain and gill antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals (ACAP); gill enzyme [glutamate-cysteine ligase (GSL), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT)] activity; liver GCL and SOD activity; and white muscle CAT activity were higher in N. rossii than in N. coriiceps. Therefore, the more active fish (N. rossii) maintains higher activities of enzymes involved in superoxide ions (O2.-) detoxification and GSH production in peripheral tissues (gills, liver and white muscle). This allows the more active fish (N. rossii) to keep levels of lipid and protein oxidative damage similar to those observed in the sluggish fish (N. coriiceps). It is worth noting that the more active fish also shows a higher brain antioxidant capacity, which could involve other non-enzymatic antioxidants like vitamins C and E. In contrast, N. coriiceps shows lower consumption of non-enzymatic antioxidants in peripheral tissues than N. coriiceps. As hypothesized, our results indicate that differences in ADS profiles between fish species are likely related to their habits and metabolic rates. This would imply in different fish abilities to deal with oxidative stress associated with increasing seawater temperature.


  • Klein, Roberta Daniele
  • Rosa, Carlos Eduardo
  • Colares, Elton Pinto
  • Robaldo, Ricardo Berteaux
  • Martinez, Pablo Elias
  • Bianchini, Adalto

publication date

  • August 2017