The objective of this study was to investigate the possible link between cadmium exposure, hepatic markers of oxidative stress and aggressive behavior in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Fish were first exposed to 0.75 mg/L CdCl2 for 15 days (12 isolated fish for each group) and afterward a behavioral test was performed. Fish from the control and cadmium-exposed groups were paired for 1 h (6 pairs of fish per group) for determination of aggressiveness parameters. Immediately after the behavioral test, the animals were sacrificed and the liver was used to determine biochemical parameters. Cadmium decreased aggression in Nile tilapia. Subordinate animals exposed to cadmium showed decreased glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity compared to dominant ones. No alterations were observed in selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase Se-GSH-P and Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase activities, but total superoxide dismutase activity was increased in subordinate animals exposed to cadmium compared to subordinate control. Catalase activity was increased in cadmium-exposed fish. Lipoperoxide concentrations also increased in cadmium exposed fish indicating that cadmium toxicity may affect oxidative stress biomarkers in Nile tilapia. Social stress induced lipoperoxidation in Nile tilapia, and subordinate animals exposed to cadmium responded with lower activities of liver antioxidant enzymes compared to dominant fish. The present study shows that cadmium exposure is capable of inducing changes in the social status and oxidative stress parameters in this species.
Oreochromis niloticus; Stress response; Antioxidant enzymes; Social stress; Liver; Nile tilapia