Myofibrilar functional desregulation in fish: a new biomarker of damage to pesticides.
Endosulfan (ES) modifies the ultrastructure of skeletal muscle fibers and causes changes to the swimming behavior of fish. The objectives of the present work were to evaluate, in fishes of Australoheros facetus, 1) the integrity of myofibrils (Mf) by the analysis of SDS-PAGE profiles, and 2) the functionality of Mf through the microscopically monitoring of the contraction and changes in Mg2+Ca2+- ATPase and Mg2+(EGTA) -ATPase activities. As expected, after the addition of the contraction buffer, control fish Mf contracted. On the contrary, Mf from fish exposed at 0.5 μg/L ES showed a partial contraction and none of the fish exposed at 10 μg/L ES contracted. As judged by its high Mg2+Ca2+ATPase activity and low Mg2+(EGTA) ATPase activity, control Mf showed good functionality. In Mf from fish exposed to 0.5 and 10 μg/L ES the activities of these enzymes were similar, suggesting denaturation or degradation of some component of tropomyosin-troponin complex. SDS-PAGE patterns of Mf from fish exposed to ES showed degradation of the myosin heavy chain and of tropomyosin. Similar values of lipid peroxidation (TBARS) were found in both control and exposed Mf, suggesting that lipid oxidation was not be related to the above-mentioned changes. The observed effects expand the knowledge of ES action in muscles and could be used as biomarkers of damage in fishes exposed to organochlorine compounds like the insecticide endosulfan.