Skip to main content
Log in

Cypermethrin and λ-cyhalothrin induced alterations in nucleic acids and protein contents in a freshwater fish, Channa punctatus

Fish Physiology and Biochemistry Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article


In this study, a freshwater fish Channa punctatus was exposed to subacute concentrations of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides (cypermethrin and λ-cyhalothrin) for 96 h to evaluate their impact on the levels of nucleic acids and protein in its different organs. Significant enhancement in the level of DNA was recorded in all tissues of the fish at high concentration of cypermethrin, whereas RNA and protein contents increased in tissues at all concentrations of cypermethrin tested. In contrast, λ-cyhalothrin treatment caused an increase in the level of DNA only in liver and brain, whereas increase of RNA and protein varied to different levels in different tissues. Cypermethrin treatment induced RNA/DNA ratio in all fish organs tested, whereas λ-cyhalothrin caused a sharp decrease in the ratio. Protein/DNA ratios were found to be tissue specific in treatments with both of the insecticides. The results clearly indicated that both of these pyrethroids exerted their effects in a similar manner in fish liver but differed in other tissues. These insecticides acted as potential biomodulators in C. punctatus, though following different routes. The results may be an indicator of aquatic pollution affecting freshwater fauna and flora and thus signaling the need for strict regulation on the indiscriminate input of pyrethroids from agricultural sites.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  • American Public Health Association (APHA) (1985) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 16th edn. Washington, DC, p 1268

  • Ayadin R, Koprucu K, Dorucu M, Koprucu SS, Pala M (2005) Acute toxicity of synthetic pyrethroid cypermethrin on the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) embryos and larvae. Aquacult Int 13:451–458

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berlin JR, Akera T, Brody TM, Matsumura F (1984) The ionotropic effects of a synthetic pyrethroid decamethrin on isolated guinea pig atrial muscle. Eur J Pharmacol 98:313–322

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Brachet J (1955) The biological role of the pentose nucleic acids. In: Chargaff E, Davidson JN (eds) The nucleic acid, Chemistry and Biology, vol 2, Academic Press, New York, pp 475–519

  • Bulow FJ (1970) RNA/DNA ratios as indicators of recent growth rates of a fish. J Fish Res Bd Can 27:2343–2349

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Clark JR, James M, Patrick J, Douglas PM, James CM (1985) Relative sensitivity of six estuarine fishes to carbophenothion, chlorpyrifos and fenvalerate. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 10:382–390

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Day F (1989) The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma fishes Taylor and Francis, London, , vol 1, pp 548; vol 2, pp 509

  • Edwards R, Millburn P, Hutson DH (1986) Comparative toxicity of cis-cypermethrin in rainbow trout, frog, mouse and quail. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 84:512–522

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Eells JT, Rasmussen JL, Bandettini PA, Propp JM (1993) Differences in the neuroexcitatory actions of pyrethroid insecticides and sodium channel specific neurotoxins in rat and trout brain synaptosomes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 123:107–119

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • El-Gohary M, Awara WM, Nassar S, Hawas S (1999) Deltamethrin induced testicular apoptosis in rats: the protective effect of nitric oxide synthase inhibitor. Toxicology 132:1–8

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Holbrook DJ Jr (1980) Effects of toxicants on nucleic acid and protein metabolism. In: Hodgson E, Guthrie FE (eds) Introduction to biochemical toxicology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp 261–284

    Google Scholar 

  • Izaguirre MF, Lajmanovich RC, Peltzer PM, Soler AP, Casco VH (2000) Cypermethrin-induced apoptosis in the telencephalon of Physalaemus biligonigerus tadpoles (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 65:501–507

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kistler A (1979) Tissue specific changes in DNA, RNA and protein content during late fetal and postnatal development in the rat. Int J Biochem 10:975–980

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Koprucu SS, Koprucu K, Ural MS (2006) Acute toxicity of the synthetic pyrethroid Deltamethrin to fingerling European catfish, Silurus glanis, L. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 76:59–65

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kumar A, Sharma B, Pandey RS (2007) Preliminary evaluation of the toxicity of cypermethrin and λ-cyhalothrin to Channa punctatus. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. doi:10.1007/s00128-007-9282-8

  • Liess M, Schulz R, Liess MHD, Rother B, Kreuzig R (1999) Determination of insecticide contamination in agricultural headwater streams. Water Res 33:239–247

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lowry OH, Rosenbrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall RJ (1951) Protein measurement with Folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem 193:265–275

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Natarajan GM (1981) Effects of lethal (LC50/48 h) concentration of Metasystox on selected oxidative enzymes, tissues respiration and histology of gills of the fresh water air-breathing fish, Channa striatus (Bleeker). Current Sci 50(22):985–989

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Philip GH, Rajasree BH (1996) Action of cypermethrin on tissue transamination during nitrogen metabolism in Cyprinus carpio. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 34:174–179

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Philip GH, Reddy PM, Sridevi G (1995) Cypermethrin-induced in vivo alterations in the carbohydrate metabolism of freshwater fish, Labeo rohita. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 31:173–178

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Reddy ATV, Ayyanna K, Yellamma K (1991) Sensitivity of brain cholinesterase to cypermethrin toxicity in freshwater teleost, Tilapia mossambica. Biochem Int 23:959–962

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Salibian A (1992) Effects of Deltamethrin on the South American toad, Bufo arenarum, tadpoles. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 48:616–621

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Salibian A, Marazzo L (1995) Studies on the effect of Deltamethrin on sodium net transport through the in vivo amphibian skin. Biomed Environ Sci 8:165–168

    Google Scholar 

  • Saxena KK, Seth N (2002) Toxic effects of cypermethrin on certain hematological aspects of fresh water fish, Channa punctatus. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 69:364–369

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider WC (1957) Determination of nucleic acids in tissues by pentose analysis. In: Colowick SP, Kaplan NO (eds) Methods in enzymology, vol 3. Academic Press, New York, pp 680–684

    Google Scholar 

  • World Health Organization (1992) Alpha-cypermethrin. Environmental Health Criteria 142. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

    Google Scholar 

  • Wright DA, Martin FD (1985) The effect on starvation of RNA/DNA ratios and growth of larval striped bass Morone saxatilis . J Fish Biol 27:479–485

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors express their gratitude to Professor (Dr.) Pratima Gaur, Head, Department of Zoology, for providing Central Instrumentation Facility developed with the financial assistance from UGC-SAP and DST-FIST for carrying out this work. Financial assistance to one of the authors (AK) from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, in the form of NET-JRF (F.No.9/1 (274)/2005-EMR-I) is gratefully acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ravi Shankar Pandey.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kumar, A., Sharma, B. & Pandey, R.S. Cypermethrin and λ-cyhalothrin induced alterations in nucleic acids and protein contents in a freshwater fish, Channa punctatus . Fish Physiol Biochem 34, 331–338 (2008).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: