Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are recognized physiological stressors to fish which over time may impair individual performance and perhaps fitness by inducing changes that could have population-level consequences. PCB-126 (3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl) accumulates in lipids and can subsequently be released into the bloodstream during periods of high activity that involve the mobilization of stored fuels to meet with increasing energy demands. The goal of this study was to determine if a sublethal exposure to PCB-126 altered the content of tissue energy supplies (carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, triglycerides) and impaired swimming performance as well as oxygen consumption in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Trout were injected intraperitoneally with a single Low (100 μg kg− 1) or High (400 μg kg− 1) dose of PCB-126 then swimming performance and metabolic rates from 1 to 9 days post-injection were compared to Control (non-dosed) fish. Liver ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity was assessed as an indication of PCB-126 intoxication while plasma and white muscle tissue metabolites were analyzed as an index of physiological disturbance. Swimming performance, assessed using two successive modified critical swimming speed (Ucrit) tests, was highest for fish in the High PCB-126 treatment; however, their initial condition factor (K) was also higher, largely due to their greater body mass. Trout in the High and Low PCB-126 treatments exhibited impaired recovery following intense exercise as they swam comparatively poorly when provided a second challenge. PCB-exposed fish exhibited reduced spleen somatic indices as well as muscle glucose and glycogen contents; whereas plasma cortisol and glucose levels were elevated, indicating higher metabolic costs during recovery and muscle restoration. Overall, this research provides insights into the sublethal effects of a toxic organic compound on swimming performance in trout.

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Keywords Critical swimming speed, Fitness, Metabolic rate, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Performance, Polychlorinated biphenyls, Recovery ratio
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpb.2016.01.005
Journal Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bellehumeur, K. (Karyne), Lapointe, D. (Dominique), Cooke, S.J, & Moon, T.W. (Thomas W.). (2016). Exposure to sublethal levels of PCB-126 impacts fuel metabolism and swimming performance in rainbow trout. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 199, 97–104. doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2016.01.005