Branchial versus intestinal silver toxicity and uptake in the marine teleost Parophrys vetulus

M. Grosell, C. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Exposure to elevated waterborne silver as AgNO3 (4.07 μM=448 μg 1-1) in seawater resulted in osmoregulatory disturbance in the lemon sole (Parophrys vetulus). The main effects were increased plasma Na+ and Cl- concentrations which translated into increased plasma osmolality. Plasma Mg2+ levels were also slightly increased after 96 h exposure. Using radioisotopic flux measurements, a 50% reduction in branchial unidirectional Na+ extrusion was observed after 48 h silver exposure. By applying an intestinal perfusion approach, we were able to separate and thus quantify the intestinal contribution to the observed silver-induced physiological disturbance and internal silver accumulation. This analysis revealed that the intestinal contribution to silver-induced ionoregulatory toxicity was as high as 50-60%. In marked contrast, internal silver accumulation (in liver and kidney) was found to be derived exclusively from uptake across the gills. Drinking of silver-contaminated seawater resulted in substantial silver accumulation in the intestinal tissue (but apparently not silver uptake across the intestine), which probably explains the intestinal contribution to silver-induced physiological disturbance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-594
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - B Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Branchial toxic response
  • Intestinal toxic response
  • Marine teleost
  • Silver toxicity
  • Silver uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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