Long term salinity disrupts the hepatic function, intestinal health, and gills antioxidative status in Nile tilapia stressed with hypoxia

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Center for Applied Research on the Environment & Sustainability

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Mahmoud A. Dawood; Ahmed E. Noreldin; Hani Sewilam

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Research Article

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Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

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In aquaculture, fish are stressed with several factors involved in impacting the growth rate and health status. Although Nile tilapia can resist brackish water conditions, hypoxia status may impair the health condition of fish. Nile tilapia were exposed to salinity water at 0, 10, and 20‰ for four weeks then the growth behavior was checked. The results showed meaningfully lowered growth rate, feed utilization, and survival rate when fish kept in 20‰ for four weeks. Then fish were subdivided into six groups (factorial design, 2 × 3) in normoxia (DO, 6 mg/L) and hypoxia (DO, 1 mg/L) conditions for 24 h. High salinity (10 and 20‰) combined with hypoxia stress-induced inflammatory features in the intestines, gills, and livers of fish. The activities of SOD, CAT, and GPX were increased in the intestines, gills, and livers of fish grown in 10 and 20‰ and exposed with hypoxia stress. Fish grown in 20‰ and stressed with hypoxia had the highest ALT, AST, and ALP levels (p < 0.05) among the groups. The highest transcription levels of Il-8, Il-1β, Ifn-γ, Tnf-α, and Caspase-3 genes and the lowest level of Il-10 gene were observed in fish exposed with 20‰ and hypoxia. The outputs of Integrated Biomarker Response (IBR) showed marked differences between fish groups with varied values. The lowest IBR was observed in fish reared in fresh water and normoxia, while the highest IBR was seen in the group of fish reared in 20‰ and hypoxia conditions (p < 0.05). These results confirm that Nile tilapia can tolerate 10‰ in normoxia but 20‰ salinity combined with hypoxia results in oxidative stress, apoptosis, and inflammatory features in the intestines, gills, and livers. The obtained results indicate that hypoxia can affect the performances of Nile tilapia reared in brackish or high-water salinity leading to severe economic loss. Further future studies are required to understand the impact of different water salinities with hypoxia in the short term and long-term periods on the productivity of Nile tilapia.

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