We examined sublethal responses of juvenile bluegills Lepomis macrochirus to aqueous cadmium in two 28-d tests (test I, 0.0-8.4 μg Cd per liter; test II, 0.0-32.3 μg Cd per liter) in an intermittent-flow diluter. The experimental design was completely randomized, with two replicates in each of eight treatments (seven Cd exposures and one water control with 25 fish per replicate). Cadmium did not affect the growth of test fish. The mean whole-body concentrations of Cd in exposed fish were 1.8- to 44-fold those in controls in the two tests. Mean concentrations of hepatic nonthionein cytosolic Cd (not bound by metal-binding proteins, MBP) in all Cd treatments greatly exceeded those in controls, and mean concentrations of hepatic MBP in all treatments except one (0.8 μg Cd per liter in test I) exceeded those in controls. Nonthionein cytosolic Cd, hepatic MBP, and whole-body Cd in bluegills were linearly related to exposure concentrations within the range 0 to 20 μg Cd per liter. Much of the total Cd-binding capacity of hepatic MBP per fish was occupied by Cd after the 28-d exposures, although additional Cd-binding capacity remained unoccupied by Cd in fish in all treatments. The mean total Cd-binding capacity of hepatic MBP per fish, which ranged from 1.7 to 14 nmol Cd in test I and from 0.8 to 24 nmol Cd in test II, increased in a concentration-response manner at exposure concentrations below 13 μg/L. Nonthionein cytosolic Cd was the most sensitive indicator of Cd exposure, based on an LOEC of 0.8 μg Cd per liter.
Additional publication details
Hepatic cadmium, metal-binding proteins and bioaccumulation in bluegills exposed to aqueous cadmium