US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 49, 84-90 (2001); doi:10.1006/eesa.2000.2032


Copyright 2001 by Academic Press


Pesticides and heavy metals are common environmental contaminants that can cause neurotoxicity to aquatic organisms, impairing reproduction and survival. Neurotoxic effects of cadmium and carbaryl exposures were estimated in larval rainbow trout (RBT; Oncorhynchus mykiss) using changes in physiological endpoints and correlations with behavioral responses. Following exposures, RBT were videotaped to assess swimming speed. Brain tissue was used to measure cholinesterase (ChE) activity, muscarinic cholinergic receptor (MChR) number, and MChR affinity. ChE activity decreased with increasing concentrations of carbaryl but not of cadmium. MChR were not affected by exposure to either carbaryl or cadmium. Swimming speed correlated with ChE activity in carbaryl-exposed RBT, but no correlation occurred in cadmium-exposed 5sh. Thus, carbaryl exposure resulted in neurotoxicity reflected by changes in physiological and behavioral parameters measured, while cadmium exposure did not. Correlations between behavior and physiology provide a useful assessment of neurotoxicity.