Mercury and metallothioneins in blood fractions and tissues of captive Morelet's crocodiles in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Periodo de realización: 2018/06/01 al 2018/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Resumen: "Even though studies of heavy metals and their relation with metallothioneins (MTs) in reptile tissues have been conducted, research on heavy metals and MTs in organs and blood fractions of crocodylians is limited. To date there are no studies on the distribution of MTs in organs and their relation with mercury (Hg), or the concentration of MTs in plasma and erythrocytes of crocodylians. In order to understand the role of MTs in crocodiles, our aim was to assess the detoxification mechanisms for exposure to metals in Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) by using two biomarkers (Hg and MTs) in blood fractions and tissues, and comparing them with concentrations between two populations of crocodiles, one previously wild and currently captive (Theme Park) and another raised in a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). The caudal scutes from the Theme Park showed higher concentrations of Hg than those from the skin in the WMU samples, and significant negative relationships were observed between the total length (TL) and Hg in the scutes. The significant negative relationship between Hg and hemoglobin (Hb) may be due to disorders in the oxidation process and even denature of this protein, while the positive trend observed between MTs and Hb is consistent with the detoxifying functions and the protection against oxidative damage. This study is the first to report Hg in the erythrocytes of crocodylians and the use of MTs for testing the potential of these biomarkers as a tool to assess Hg exposure in crocodile's habitats."

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