Short-term exposure to polymethylmethacrylate nanoplastics alters muscle antioxidant response, development and growth in Sparus aurata


Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) plastic fragments have been found abundant in the environment, but the knowledge regarding its effects on the physiology of aquatic animals is still poorly studied. Here the short-term (96 h) effects of waterborne exposure to PMMA nanoplastics (PMMA-NPs) on the muscle of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) fingerlings was evaluated at a concentration range that includes 0.001 up to 10 mg/L. The expression of key transcripts related to cell stress, tissue repair, immune response, antioxidant status and muscle development, together with several biochemical endpoints and metabolic parameters. Results indicate that exposure to PMMA-NPs elicit mildly antioxidant responses, enhanced the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, and inhibited key regulators of muscle development (growth hormone receptors ghr-1/ghr-2 and myostatin, mstn1 transcripts). However, no effects on pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 1 beta, il1 beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha, tnf alpha) expression nor on the levels of energetic substrates (glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol) were found.



subject category

Environmental Sciences; Marine & Freshwater Biology


Balasch, JC; Brandts, I; Barria, C; Martins, MA; Tvarijonaviciute, A; Tort, L; Oliveira, M; Teles, M

our authors


This research was supported through the Plan Nacional de Investigacion, Government of Spain and UE-FEDER funds (AGL2016-76069-C2-2-R) and through CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020) and COMPETE - Operational Competitiveness Program and national funds through FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project NANOAu-Effects of Gold Nanoparticles to Aquatic Organisms (FCTPTDC/MAR-EST/3399/2012) (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-029435) . Authors acknowledge FCT and FEDER funds through the Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade - COMPETE, under the project of CICECO, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2013) financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. IB was granted with a predoctoral contract 'FI-AGAUR' of Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. AT has a post-doctoral fellowship Ramon y Cajal supported by the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Spain. MO had financial support of the program Investigador FCT, co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme and European Social Fund (IF/00335-2015) . MT has a post-doctoral fellowship Ramon y Cajal supported by the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Spain (ref. RYC2019-026841-I) . LT and MT are members of Healthiest Fish. MT, IB and LT are members of the Xarxa d'Aquicultura de Catalunya.

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