Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 613–624 | Cite as

Induction of DNA base damage and strand breaks in peripheral erythrocytes and the underlying mechanism in goldfish (Carassius auratus) exposed to monocrotophos

  • Fei Zhao
  • Bai Wang
  • Xiaona Zhang
  • Hua Tian
  • Wei Wang
  • Shaoguo Ru


Using goldfish (Carassius auratus) as the model animal, the present study revealed the types of the DNA damage induced by monocrotophos, a highly toxic organophosphorus pesticide, and explored the mechanism underlying the DNA-damaging effect of this pesticide. Results of the alkaline comet assay showed that global DNA damage (including single- and double-strand breaks and alkali-labile sites) in peripheral erythrocytes of goldfish, measured as olive tail moment, was significantly increased by exposure to 0.01, 0.10, and 1.00 mg/L monocrotophos for 24, 48, 96, and 168 h. In particular, alkali-labile sites rather than single- or double-strand breaks, distinguished by the alkaline, pH 12.1, and neutral comet assays, were mainly induced by monocrotophos at 48 h. Oxidative damage in DNA bases and telomeric DNA was investigated by using the alkaline comet assay combined with endonuclease III or formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase and with fluorescence in situ hybridization, respectively. Further, glutathione peroxidase activity significantly decreased at 24 h but increased at 96 and 168 h, and malondialdehyde concentrations significantly increased at 48 h but gradually decreased at 96 and 168 h, which indicated an over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at short exposure durations, but effective scavenging at long exposure durations in the peripheral blood tissues. Accordingly, our results suggest that DNA damage induced by monocrotophos in fish blood cells is possibly due to the inhibition of ROS scavenging and resulted accumulation of ROS.


Carassius auratus Monocrotophos Comet assay Alkali-labile sites Strand breaks Reactive oxygen species 



Reactive oxygen species


Single-strand breaks


Double-strand breaks


Alkali-labile sites




Cytochrome P450s



\({\text{O}}_{ 2}^{\cdot - }\)

Superoxide anion

\(^{ \cdot } {\text{OH}}\)

Hydroxyl radicals


Superoxide dismutase


Glutathione peroxidase

Endo III

Endonuclease III


Formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase


Fluorescence in situ hybridization




Phosphate-buffered saline


Olive tail moment


Saline sodium citrate



AP sites

Apurinic or apyrimidinic sites


Hydrogen peroxide



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [30671618].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Zhao
    • 1
  • Bai Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaona Zhang
    • 1
  • Hua Tian
    • 1
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
  • Shaoguo Ru
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Life Science CollegeOcean University of ChinaQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China

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