Cyanotoxins including microcystins are increasing globally, escalating health risks to humans and wildlife. Freshwater fish can accumulate and retain microcystins in tissues; however, uptake and depuration studies thus far have not exposed fish to microcystins in its intracellular state (i.e., cell-bound or conserved within cyanobacteria), which is a primary route of exposure in the field, nor have they investigated sublethal molecular-level effects in tissues, limiting our knowledge of proteins responsible for microcystin toxicity pathways in pre-to-postsenescent stages of a harmful algal bloom. We address these gaps with a 2-wk study (1 wk of ‘uptake’ exposure to intracellular microcystins (0–40 μg L−1) produced by Microcystis aeruginosa followed by 1 wk of ‘depuration’ in clean water) using Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Liver and muscle samples were collected throughout uptake and depuration phases for targeted microcystin quantification and nontargeted proteomics. For both species, microcystins accumulated at a higher concentration in the liver than muscle, and activated cellular responses related to oxidative stress, apoptosis, DNA repair, and carcinogenicity. However, intraspecific proteomic effects between Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout differed, and interspecific accumulation and retention of microcystins in tissues within each species also differed. We demonstrate that fish do not respond the same to cyanobacterial toxicity within and among species despite being reared in the same environment and diet.
- Algal bloom