Are fish in hot water? Effects of warming on oxidative stress metabolism in the commercial species Sparus aurata

Diana Madeira, Catarina Vinagre, Mário S. Diniz

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is disturbing marine biological processes, and impacting goods and services provided to society. Physiological studies are a major contributor to the improvement of biological forecasting in the context of climate change. Oxidative stress biomarkers are useful tools to assess the metabolic status and health of organisms, improving management of wild and cultured populations. The aims of this study were to assess the health status and vulnerability of Sparus aurata juveniles toward ocean warming and heat wave events by (1) exposing fish to a thermal ramp from 18 °C until their Critical Thermal Maximum (≃35 °C) and (2) quantifying oxidative stress biomarkers in several organs, i.e. lipid peroxidation (LPO), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), and cytochrome CYP1A. Fish showed signs of oxidative stress in every tissue tested (gills, muscle, liver, brain and intestine), the most affected being muscle and liver, which showed greater increases in LPO. In general, antioxidant enzymes increased their activity: CAT increased in every organ tested, GST increased in every organ except brain (no change) and SOD increased in every organ except intestine (no change) and brain (decrease, probably due to enzyme denaturation). Muscle showed the greatest stress response with a massive increase in GST. Hepatic CYP1A decreased upon warming suggesting that temperature influences detoxifying mechanisms and may affect fish health. These results are significant in the context of climate change and associated impacts on fisheries and aquaculture because over-induction of oxidative stress due to warming can induce health problems, mortality and shortened lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-331
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Anti-oxidant enzymes
  • Biomarkers
  • Climate change
  • Oxidative damage
  • Sea bream
  • Thermal stress


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