Fish physiology and biochemistry

Natural factors to consider when using acetylcholinesterase activity as neurotoxicity biomarker in Young-Of-Year striped bass (Morone saxatilis).

PMID 20582624


Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity is one of the most common biomarkers of neurotoxicity used in aquatic organisms. However, compared to its extensive use as biomarker, the effects of natural factors on AChE activity remain unclear especially in estuarine fishes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of natural factors on AChE activity of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) juveniles. Brain AChE activity was measured in YOY (Young-Of-Year) individuals collected monthly from August 2007 to January 2008 at 12 different sites in the San Francisco Estuary system. The spatio-temporal variability of AChE was analyzed relative to water temperature and salinity as well as fish size. AChE activity was highly positively correlated with water temperature and to a lesser extent negatively with fish size while no relationship was detected with salinity. Taking into account these natural factors when using AChE as a biomarker will help to determine and understand the effects of neurotoxic contaminants on fish in estuarine systems.