Effects of dissolved metals and other hydrominerals on in vivo intestinal zinc uptake in freshwater rainbow trout

Chris N. Glover, Christer Hogstrand

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


For aquatic organisms, zinc is both an essential nutrient and an environmental contaminant. The intestine is potentially the most important route of zinc absorption, yet little is known regarding this uptake pathway for zinc in fish. A recently developed in vivo perfusion system was used to investigate the effect of luminal composition upon intestinal zinc uptake in freshwater rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Perfusate cadmium and copper had specific, yet distinct, antagonistic effects upon lumen to tissue zinc movement. Copper significantly reduced the proportion of zinc taken up from the perfusate, and concomitantly limited the passage of zinc into the circulation and beyond. Conversely, cadmium decreased subepithelial zinc accumulation, with rates falling to 29 nmol g-1 h-1 from the control (zinc alone) values of 53 nmol g-1 h-1. Calcium had a similar action to copper, also reducing post-intestinal zinc accumulation from 0.06 to 0.02 nmol g-1 h-1, an effect attributed to interactions between calcium and the zinc uptake pathway. In addition to these effects, luminal composition also had a marked influence upon epithelial response to zinc. Calcium, copper and magnesium all greatly reduced zinc-induced mucus secretion. Cadmium, a toxic metal, significantly increased mucus secretion. It is proposed that these modifications were related to the essentiality of each element, and their potential mechanisms of uptake. Despite changes at the epithelium, the post-epithelial accumulation of zinc was dependent mainly upon the nature of the competing cation. Intestinal saline ion substitution experiments suggested a potential link of potassium ion efflux to zinc uptake. The effect of pH buffering of luminal solutions was also investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb. 2003


  • Cadmium
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Dietary uptake
  • Intestine
  • Metal interactions
  • Potassium
  • Zinc


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