Consequences of prenatal exposure to contaminants in elasmobranchs: Biochemical outcomes during the embryonic development of Pseudobatos horkelii
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Coastal elasmobranchs are vulnerable to chemicals mostly due to their k-strategic life history characteristics and high trophic positions. Embryos might be particularly exposed through the maternal offloading of contaminants, possibly leading to disruptions during critical developmental phases. Yet, knowledge on biochemical outcomes of prenatal exposure in elasmobranchs is notably limited. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure to contaminants in embryos of the critically endangered Brazilian guitarfish, Pseudobatos horkelii. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pharmaceuticals and personal care products, and metals were determined in embryos. Additionally, glutathione S-transferase activity (GST), glutathione (GSH), and metallothionein levels (MT) were analyzed. Finally, lipid peroxidation levels (LPO) and protein carbonyl groups (PCO) were assessed. Embryonic exposure depended on yolk consumption, which was conspicuous in earlier development. We observed a dilution effect of contaminants levels, potentially related to biotransformation of these compounds throughout the embryonic development. Nevertheless, GST was not correlated to contaminant concentrations. The multivariate relationship between antioxidant components (GSH and GST) and LPO and PCO was negative, suggesting the lack of efficient defense of these biomarkers in early development, leading to oxidative damage. In this context, our results indicate that prenatal exposure to contaminants might impact the redox status in embryos of P. horkelii, leading to oxidative damage. Furthermore, metal concentrations influenced MT levels, suggesting this as a potential detoxification pathway in this species.