Antioxidant responses to azinphos methyl and carbaryl during the embryonic development of the toad Rhinella (Bufo) arenarum Hensel
Amphibian embryos are naturally exposed to prooxidant conditions throughout their development. Environmental exposure to contaminants may affect their capacity to respond to challenging conditions, to progress in a normal ontogenesis, and finally to survive and succeed in completing metamorphosis. We studied the effects of the exposure to two anticholinesterase agents, the carbamate carbaryl and the organophosphate azinphos methyl, on the antioxidant defenses of developing embryos of the toad Rhinella (Bufo) arenarum. Reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were increased early by carbaryl, but were decreased by both pesticides at the end of embryonic development. The GSH-dependent enzymes glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidases showed oscillating activity patterns that could be attributed to an induction of activity in response to oxidative stress and inactivation by excess of reactive oxygen species. Glutathione-S-transferases, which may participate in the conjugation of lipid peroxide products in addition to pesticide detoxification, showed an increase of activity at the beginning and at the end of development. Catalase also showed variations in the activity suggesting, successively, induction and inactivation in response to pesticide exposure-induced oxidative stress. Superoxide dismutase activity was increased by carbaryl and transiently decreased by azinphos methyl exposure. Judging from the depletion in GSH levels and glutathione reductase inhibition at the end of embryonic development, the oxidative stress caused by azinphos methyl seemed to be greater than that caused by carbaryl, which might be in turn related with a higher number of developmental alterations caused by the organophosphate. GSH content is a good biomarker of oxidative stress in the developing embryos exposed to pesticides. The antioxidant enzymes are in turn revealing the balance between their protective capacity and the oxidative damage to the enzyme molecules, decreasing their activity.