Comparative Clinical Pathology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 493–499 | Cite as

Biochemical and physiological responses of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus Linn.) subjected to rapid increases of water temperature

  • Paiboon PanaseEmail author
  • Supap Saenphet
  • Kanokporn Saenphet
  • Paramet Pathike
  • Rujiraporn Thainum
Original Article


This research evaluated the general stress response, serum biochemistry, hematology, cortisol level, and ventilation rates of the commercial fresh water fish Oreochromis nilotichus, which was subjected to acute heat shock treatment. The consequences of heat shock were evaluated using five different water temperature levels (25 °C used as the control group, then 27 °C, 29 °C, 33 °C, and 37 °C, the rate was increased 3 °C per hour). All serum indices showed significant changes (p < 0.05), especially with regard to the activities of alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), which clearly fluctuated as a consequence of heat shock, from 25 to 37 °C; meanwhile, serum protein and cholesterol levels increased from 25 to 37 °C. The hematological indices, white blood cell count (WBC) was increased but the total red blood cell count (RBC) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin level (MCH) decreased when the fish were exposed to higher temperatures. The cortisol level significantly increased when the temperature rose to 29 °C, and after that, it slightly decreased at 37 °C. Ventilation rates (operculum movement) dramatically increased as the temperature increased. Overall, these results suggested that rapid increases in water temperature may induce stress responses in O. nilotichus, particulary at 29 °C, a temperature that has the potential to impair the physiology and ventilation rate of this species.


Heat shock Serum biochemistry Hematology Cortisol level Ventilation rate Oreochromis niloticus 



The researcher wishes to thank all staff who helped with data collection and analysis. Also, the researcher wishes to thank the Fisheries Laboratory, School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Phayao and Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University for their provided facilities.

Funding information

This research was supported by the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (BEDO) (public organization), under the research program: Climate Change Impact Assessment on Ecological System and Environment in Kwan Phayao for Adaptation (research grant number, R59111), Thailand.

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


  1. Barton BA (1997) Stress in finfish: past, present, and future- a histological perspective. In: Iwana GWK, Pickering AD, Sumpter JP, Schreck CB (eds) Fish stress and health in aquaculture. Cambridge University Press, Cambidge, pp 1–34Google Scholar
  2. Barton BA (2002) Stress in fishes: a diversity of responses with particular reference to changes in circulating corticosteroids. Integr Comp Biol 42:517–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barton BA, Iwama GK (1991) Physiological changes in fish from stress in aquaculture with emphasis on the response and effects of corticosteroids. Annu Rev Fish Dis 1:3–26Google Scholar
  4. Blaxhall PC, Daisley KW (1973) Routine hematological methods for use with fish blood. J Fish Biol 5:771–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bozorgnia A, Hosseinifard M, Alimohammadi R (2011) Acute effect of different temperature in blood parameters of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) – In: Proc. 2nd International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, IPCBEE, IACSIT Press, Singapore, pp 52–55Google Scholar
  6. Brown J, Walker S, Steinman K (2004) Endocrine manual for the reproductive assessment of domestic and non-domestic species. Endocrine research laboratory, Department of reproductive sciences, Conservation and research center, National zoological park, Smithsonian institution, Handbook, pp 1–93Google Scholar
  7. Castillo J, Castellana B, Acerete L, Planas JV, Goetz FW, Mackenzie S, Tort L (2008) Stress-induced regulation of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein expression in head kidney of Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). J Endocrinol 196:313–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cho HC, Kim JE, Kim HB, Baek HJ (2015) Effects of water temperature change on the hematological responses and plasma cortisol levels in growing of Red spotted grouper, Epinephelus akaara. Dev Reprod 19:19–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Das T, Pal AK, Chakraborty SK, Manush SM, Chatterjee N, Apte SK (2006) Metabolic elasticity and induction of heat shock protein 70 in Labeo rohita acclimated to three temperatures. Asian Australas J Anim Sci 7:1033–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Delaney MA, Klesius PH, Shelby RA (2005) Cortisol response of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L.), to temperature changes. J Appl Aquac 16:95–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Donaldson MR, Cooke SJ, Patterson DA, Macdonald JS (2008) REVIEW PAPER Cold shock and fish. J Fish Biol 73:1491–1530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drabkin DR (1945) Crystallographic and optical properties of human hemoglobin. A proposal for the standardisation of hemoglobin. Am J Med Sci 209:268–270Google Scholar
  13. FAO (2008) Fisheries and Aquaculture Information and Statistics Service [FAO FIES]Google Scholar
  14. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (2016) Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Oreochromis niloticus. [online]. Rome. Updated 18 February 2005. Cited 9 June 2016.Google Scholar
  15. Fisheries Information Technology Center (2007) Fishery statistics of Thailand 2005. Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Bangkok, p 91Google Scholar
  16. Gollock MJ, Kennedy CR, Brown JA (2005) Physiological responses to acute temperature increase in European eels Anguilla anguilla infected with Anguillicola crassus. Dis Aquat Org 64:223–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mazeaud MM, Mazeaud F, Donaldson EM (1977) Primary and secondary effects of stress in fish: some new data with a general review. Trans Am Fish Soc 106:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meteorological Department (2015) The Climate of Thailand. Climatological Group, Meteorological Development Bureau, Meteorological Department. 7pGoogle Scholar
  19. Miller WL (1988) Molecular biology of steroid hormone synthesis. Endocr Rev 9:295–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mulhollem JJ, Suski CD, Wahl DH (2015) Response of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from different thermal environments to increased water temperature. Fish Physiol Biochem 41:833–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Musa N, Ramly HR, Manaf MTA, Razzak LA, Musa N (2017) High water temperature impairs physiological responses in red hybrid tilapia: effects on cortisol and its regulation. AACL Bioflux 10:1297–1308Google Scholar
  22. Radoslav D, Aleksandar I, Rajko G, Goran T, Danijela C, Svjetlana L (2013) Effect of thermal stress of short duration on the red blood cell parameters of Barbus balcanicus Kotlik, Tsigenopulos, Rab, Berrebi, 2002. Afr J Biotechnol 12:2484–2491Google Scholar
  23. Rehulka J (2003) Haematological and biochemical analysis in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss affected by viral haemerrhagic septicaemia (VHS). Dis Aquat Org 56:186–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reid SD, Moon TW, Perry SF (1992) Rainbow trout hepatocyte beta-adrenoceptors, catecholamine responsiveness, and effects of cortisol. Am J Physiol 262:794–799Google Scholar
  25. Reid SG, Bernier NJ, Perry SF (1998) The adrenergic stress response in fish: control of catecholamine storage and release. Comp Biochem Physiol C 120:1–27Google Scholar
  26. Szekeres P, Brownscombe JW, Cull F, Danylchuk AJ, Shultz AD, Suski CD, Murchie KJ, Cooke SJ (2014) Physiological and behavioural consequences of cold shock on bonefish (Albula vulpes) in The Bahamas. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 459:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Vijayan MM, Ballantyne JS, Leatherland JF (1990) High stocking density alters the energy metabolism of brook charr, Salvelenus fontinalis. Aquaculture 88:371–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vijayan MM, Pereira C, Grau EG, Iwana GK (1997) Metabolic responses associated with confinement stress in Tilapia: the role of cortisol. Comp Biochem Physiol 116:89–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wendelaar BSE (1997) The stress response in fish. Physiol Rev 77:591–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Fisheries, School of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesUniversity of PhayaoPhayaoThailand
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Dapartment of Mechanical Engineering, School of EngineeringUniversity of PhayaoPhayaoThailand
  4. 4.Faculty of Fisheries Technology and Aquatic ResourcesMaejo UniversityChiang MaiThailand

Personalised recommendations