Uptake and effects of nitrite in the marine teleost fish Platichthys flesus

M. Grosell, F. B. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The route of NO2- uptake and subsequent physiological effects were examined in the marine teleost, European flounder (Platichthys flesus), during exposure to 1 mM ambient NO2- for up to 11 days. Drinking of seawater resulted in a similar nitrite concentration in the anterior part of the intestine as in the ambient water. The NO2- concentration decreased along the gastro-intestinal tract, suggesting NO2- uptake across the intestinal epithelium. Comparison of NO2- uptake in fish that drank NO2-- contaminated seawater with fish that did not (i.e. had the intestine perfused with a NO2--free saline during NO2- exposure) revealed that the intestinal route contributed some 66% of whole-body NO2- uptake. Plasma [NO2-] stayed below the ambient level. It reached a maximum of 0.35-0.4 mM on days 3-6 and then declined to 0.2 mM on day 11. The physiological effects of NO2- exposure were relatively minor compared with those reported in freshwater fish. Blood methemoglobin levels increased from approximately 4% in non-exposed fish to a maximum of 18% of total hemoglobin in exposed fish. An extracellular hyperkalemia was observed from day 3 of NO2- exposure, with a maximal increase in plasma K+ concentrations of 38%. No mortality occurred during the 11 days of NO2- exposure. The lack of mortality can be related to the relatively low NO2- accumulation in the plasma and the relatively minor physiological disturbances. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • European flounder
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Intestinal uptake
  • Marine teleost
  • Methemoglobin
  • Nitrite (NO )
  • Physiological disturbance
  • Platichthys flesus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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