Physiological response of fish under variable acidic conditions: a molecular approach through the assessment of an eco-physiological marker in the brain

  • Amrita Mukherjee
  • Amiya Ranjan Bhowmick
  • Joyita Mukherjee
  • Mahammed MoniruzzamanEmail author
Research Article


The current study demonstrates oxidative damage and associated neurotoxicity following pH stress in two freshwater carp Labeo rohita and Cirrhinus cirrhosus. Carp (n = 6, 3 replicates) were exposed to four different pH (5.5, 6, 7.5, and 8) against control (pH 6.8 ± 0.05) for 7 days. After completion of treatment, levels of enzymatic (superoxide dismutase [SOD], catalase [CAT], glutathione reductase [GRd]) and non-enzymatic antioxidants (malondialdehyde [MDA], glutathione [GSH]), brain neurological parameters (Na+-K+ATPase, acetylcholinesterase [AcHE], monoamine oxidase [MAO], and nitric oxide [NO]), xanthine oxidase (XO), heat shock proteins (HSP70 and HSP90), and transcription factor NFkB were measured in carp brain. Variation in the pH caused a significant alteration in the glutathione system (glutathione and glutathione reductase), SOD-CAT system, and stress marker malondialdehyde (MDA). Xanthine oxidase was also induced significantly after pH exposure. Brain neurological parameters (MAO, NO, AChE, and Na+-K+ATPase) were significantly reduced at each pH-treated carp group though inhibition was highest at lower acidic pH (5.5). Cirrhinus cirrhosus was more affected than that of Labeo rohita. Molecular chaperon HSP70 expression was induced in all pH-treated groups though such induction was more in acid-stressed fish. HSP90 was found to increase only in acid-stressed carp brain. Expression of NFkB was elevated significantly at each treatment group except for pH 7.5. Finally, both acidic and alkaline pH in the aquatic system was found to disturb oxidative balance in carp brain which ultimately affects the neurological activity in carp. However, acidic environment in the aquatic system was more detrimental than the alkaline system regarding oxidative damage and subsequent neurotoxicity in carp brain.


Labeo rohita Cirrhinus cirrhosus pH Antioxidant Brain Heat shock protein Oxidative stress 



The authors thankfully acknowledge Mr. Ramkrishna Das for his assistance during the course of the experimental setup and maintenance of experimental fish.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by DST-NPDF (PDF/2017/001308) and DBT Research Associateship Programme, Govt. of India, IISC, Bangalore.

Compliance with ethical standards

The investigation conforms to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published by the US National Institute of Health (NIH Publication No. 85-23, revised 1996) and was also approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee, University of Calcutta (Registration #885/ac/05/CPCSEA), registered under the “Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Laboratory Animals” (CPCSEA), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5602_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amrita Mukherjee
    • 1
  • Amiya Ranjan Bhowmick
    • 2
  • Joyita Mukherjee
    • 3
  • Mahammed Moniruzzaman
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyHiralal Mazumdar Memorial College for WomenKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsInstitute of Chemical TechnologyMumbaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Zoology, Krishna Chandra CollegeUniversity of BurdwanBirbhumIndia
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

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