Acid-base, plasma ion and blood gas changes in rainbow trout during short term toxic zinc exposure

Douglas J. Spry, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


1. Rainbow trout exposed to waterborne zinc at an acutely lethal level (1.5 mg/l) or at a lower concentration close to the 4 d LC50 (0.8 mg/l) exhibited contrasting physiological responses in artificial soft water (ASW). 2. The changes in acid-base status and other blood parameters during the acute zinc exposure (1.5 mg/l) in ASW resulted from a rapid cascade of events in which hypoxemia, probably due to gill damage, resulted in tissue hypoxia and a mixed acidosis which were rapidly fatal. Changes in Het, MCHC, Cl- and lactate reflected the acidosis. Hypoxia rather than acidosis was the primary lethal mechanism. 3. Lower level zinc exposure (0.8 mg/l) over a 3 day period resulted in a slight alkalosis, despite a rise in {Mathematical expression}. No changes were observed in plasma concentrations of Na+, Cl- or K+, and {Mathematical expression} remained high. Possible causes for the alkalosis are discussed. Some mortality occurred, suggesting that toxic mechanisms other than hypoxemia may have operated. 4. Zinc accumulated in whole blood to a greater extent during the 3 day low level exposure than the short term, high level exposure, suggesting that toxicity in the latter reflected an external effect of zinc. Zinc accumulated only in plasma with no penetration of the RBC's.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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