The increasing use of nanoparticles (NPs) worldwide has raised some concerns about their impact on the environment. The aim of the study was to assess the toxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles, singly or combined, in a freshwater fish (Carassius auratus). The fish were exposed for 7, 14, and 21 days to different concentrations of NPs (10 μg Al2O3.L−1, 10 μg ZnO.L−1, 10 μg Al2O3.L−1 plus 10 μg ZnO.L−1, 100 μg Al2O3.L−1, 100 μg ZnO.L−1, and 100 μg Al2O3.L−1 plus 100 μg ZnO.L−1). At the end of each exposure period, antioxidant enzyme activity (catalase, glutathione-S-transferase, and superoxide dismutase), lipid peroxidation, and histopathology were assessed in the gills and livers of C. auratus. The results show an increase in catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in the gills and livers of fish, especially after 14 days of exposure to single and combined NPs, followed by a reduction at 21 days. An increase in glutathione S-transferase (GST) was observed in gills after 7 days for all tested NP concentrations (single and combined); while in livers, a significant increase was determined after 14 days of exposure to 100 μg.L−1 of both single ZnO and Al2O3 NPs. Lipid peroxidation (LPO) significantly increased in gills after 7 days of exposure to 100 μg.L−1 Al2O3 NPs (single or combined). In livers, LPO increased significantly after 7 days of exposure to all tested concentrations of both single ZnO and Al2O3 (except for 10 μg Al2O3.L−1), and after 14 days of exposure to ZnO (10 and 100 μg.L−1) and Al2O3 (100 μg.L−1). The results from histological observations suggest that exposure to metal oxide NPs affected both livers and gills, presenting alterations such as gill hyperplasia and liver degeneration. However, the most pronounced effects were found in gills. In general, this study shows that the tested NPs, single or combined, are capable of causing sub-lethal effects on C. auratus, but when combined, NPs seem to be slightly more toxic than when added alone.
- Carassius auratus
- Oxidative stress enzymes