Biochemical responses revealed in an amphibian species after exposure to a forgotten contaminant: An integrated biomarker assessment

S. Dahms-Verster, A. Nel, J. H.J. van Vuren, R. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Vanadium is a metal whose toxicity towards terrestrial and aquatic species has been under-reported to date. The biochemical responses of vanadium in amphibian species have not been determined. To establish the effects of vanadium (V) on exposed adult Xenopus laevis, acute and chronic exposures were conducted, and biomarker analyses were performed on liver and muscle tissues from exposed frogs. Biomarkers of exposure, such as acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and metallothioneins (MT), were analysed. Biomarkers of effect were also analysed to determine possible increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS), and the effect of the exposure on the energy balance in the organisms. These included superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), reduced glutathione (GSH), protein carbonyls (PC), malondialdehyde (MDA), and cellular energy allocation (CEA) (energy available, energy consumption, lipids, proteins and glucose). In acute exposures, the energy balances in organisms were distinctly affected, possibly due to insulin mimetic properties of V. In chronic exposures, MT, AChE, SOD, CAT and GSH responses were more pronounced. Although AChE is generally inhibited by pollutant exposure, in this study, it was stimulated. There were significant inhibitions of SOD and CAT, previously observed in frog species. PC levels increased in the highest acute exposure concentration, indicating protein damage. The IBR.v2 revealed the biochemical responses of V more effectively than traditional statistical analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103272
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Amphibians
  • Biomarkers
  • Integrated biomarker response v2
  • Metal toxicity
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Vanadium pentoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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