Protective effects of water Cl- on physiological responses to waterborne silver in rainbow trout

James C. McGeer, Chris M. Wood

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62 Scopus citations


The importance of water Cl- concentration in mitigating the effects of sublethal waterborne AgNO3 exposure on rainbow trout was studied to test the relationship between physiological response and concentration of ionic silver (Ag+). Trout were exposed to a total silver concentration of 30 nmol · L-1 (as AgNO3) at a range of different water Cl- concentrations from 20 to 1500 μmol · L-1. These levels were chosen by speciation modelling with MINEQL+ to progressively reduce the concentration of Ag+ largely by replacement with dissolved AgCl(aq). Fish exposed to AgNO3 experienced a loss of Na+; increasing the water Cl- concentration reduced these losses. In vitro measurements after 50 h of exposure showed that Na+ losses were related to Ag+-induced inhibition of gill Na+/K+ ATPase activity; increasing the concentration of Cl- in the water protected against the inhibition of Na+/K+ ATPase activity. The disruption of Na+ regulation in AgNO3-exposed fish was accompanied by increased plasma cortisol and total ammonia concentrations, but blood pH, plasma PCO2 and HCO3-, and hematocrit were, in general, unaltered. Gill silver content increased in all AgNO3-exposed trout and was not correlated with the disruption of Na+ balance. We conclude that physiological measurements in combination with aquatic geochemical equilibrium modelling are useful in developing models to predict the acute toxicity of waterborne silver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2447-2454
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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