Assessment of Sub Lethal Toxicity of Hydrocortisone (C21H30O5): Physiological and Hematological Biomarker Reactions on Anabas Testudineus

Revathy R, A U Arun, Helana Jose, Shalu Soman, Reemy Sara Mathai, Blessy V Rajan


Application of wide range of pharmaceuticals is a serious threat to the environment causing a significant deterioration of aquatic faunal health as well as its survival status. The widespread detection of various types of drugs (antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers, etc.) present in the aquatic ecosystem directly works on physiological parameters at different levels of aquatic organisms especially the bioindicators, fishes. The experiment was carried out to evaluate the exposure of sub lethal concentration of hydrocortisone on oxygen consumption, gill movement, haematological and percentage of bone calcium of the freshwater fish, Anabas testudineus. When compared to control, the exposed fishes exhibit significant alterations in their physiological activity. The rate of oxygen consumption is indirectly proportional to dosage concentration as well as exposure time. Both the rate of gill movement and oxygen consumption were decreased with increasing concentration of hydrocortisone. Under exposure, the marked decline was recorded in both RBCs and Hb count when compared to control (P < .05). The percentage of bone calcium level was significantly decreased by the toxicity of hydrocortisone. The current study stipulates that the exposure of sub lethal concentration of hydrocortisone on Anabas testudineus alters the physiological and hematological parameters. From the results, it is noteworthy that the steroid drug, hydrocortisone even at low concentrations causes deteriorative impacts on the health conditions of aquatic organism.

KEYWORDS: Hydrocortisone, oxygen consumption, gill movement, haematology, bone calcium, Anabas testudineus.


Hydrocortisone, oxygen consumption, gill movement, haematology, bone calcium, Anabas testudineus.


Afshan, S., Ali, S., Ameen, U.S., Farid, M., Bharwana, S.A., Hannan, F. and Ahmad, R. 2014. Effect of different heavy metal pollution on fish. Res. J. Chem. Env. Sci. 2(2), 74-79.

Ahmad, Z. 2012. Toxicity bioassay and effects of sub-lethal exposure of malathion on biochemical composition and haematological parameters of Clarias gariepinus. African Journal of Biotechnology. 11(34), 8578-8585.

Alam, A., Tabinda, A.B., Hassan, M.U. and Yasar, A. 2014. Comparative toxicity of acetamiprid and azadirachta indica leave extract on biochemical components of blood of labeo rohita. Pakistan J. Zool. 46(6), 1515-1520.

Alimba, C.G, Adekoya, K.O, Soyinka, O.O. 2019. Exposure to effluent from pharmaceutical industry induced cytogenotoxicity, hematological and histopathological alterations in Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822). EXCLI Journal. 18, 63-78.

Al-Otaibia, A.M., Al-Balawia, H.F.A., Ahmada, Z. and Suliman, E.M. 2019. Toxicity bioassay and sub-lethal effects of diazinon on blood profile and histology of liver, gills and kidney of catfish, Clarias gariepinus. Braz. J. Biol. 79 (2), 326-336.

Ambili, T.R., Saravanan, M., Ramesh, M., Abhijith, D.B. and Poopal, R.K. 2013. Toxicological effects of the antibiotic oxytetracycline to an Indian major carp Labeo rohita. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 64(3), 494–503.

Asifa, K.P., Chitra, K.C. 2018. Sublethal toxic effects of bisphenol A on oxygen consumption, haematological and histological parameters in the cichlid fish, Pseudetroplus maculatus (Bloch, 1795). International Journal of Zoological Investigations. 4(1), 21-30.

Binoy, V.V, Nishitha, J. and Thomas, K.J. 2004. Influence of dicofol on the behaviour of the climbing perch, Anabas testudineus. Indian J Fish. 51(3), 345–351.

Blaxhall, P.C. and Daisley, K.W. 1973. Routine haematological methods for use with fish blood. Journal of Fish Biology. 6(5), 771-781.

Boxall, A.B.A., Fogg, L.A., Blackwell, P.A., Kay, P., Pemberton, E.J and Croxford, A. 2004. Veterinary medicines in the environment. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 180, 1-91.

Calamari, D., Zuccato, E., Castiglioni, S., Bagnati, R. and Fanelli, R.2003. Strategic survey of therapeutic drugs in the rivers Po and Lambro in northern Italy. Environ Sci Technol. 37(70), 1241–1248.

Chebbi, S.G. and David, M. 2010. Respiratory responses and behavioural anomalies of the carp Cyprinus carpio under quinalphos intoxication in sub lethal doses. Science Asia. 36(1), 12-17.

Choudhury, C., Ray, A.K. and Bhattacharya, S. 1993. Non lethal concentrations of pesticide impair ovarian function in the freshwater perch, Anabas testudineus. Environ Biol Fish. 36, 319–324.

Cong, N.V. and Linh, N.T. 2010. The possibility of using muscle cholinesterase in climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) as biomarker of effects of diazan 60EC application on rice fields at Binh Thuy district, Can Tho city [in Vietnamese]. Cantho University Press, Cantho City; 165–172.

Costanzo, S.D., Murby, J. and Bates, J. 2005. Ecosystem response to antibiotics entering the aquatic environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 51(1-4), 218–223.

David, M., Sangeetha, J. and Harish, E.R. 2015. Sodium cyanide induced alteration in the whole animal oxygen consumption and behavioural pattern of freshwater fish Labeo rohita. Journal of Environmental Biology. 36(2), 405-408.

Diamond, J.M., Parson, M.J. and Gruber, D. 1990. The observation of different ventilation responses indicated the presence and type of toxicants in the environment and bluegill sunfish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 9, 3-11.

Edwards, H. and Burnham, W. 2001. The impact of corticosteroids on the developing animal. Pediatr Res. 50, 433–440.

Eugien, X.L., Pravinkumar, M., Logesh, A.R., Viswanathan, C. and Raffi, S.M. 2014. Estimation of calcium and phosphorus in bones of three low value fishes Sardinella fimbriata, Sardinella albella and Sardinella gibbosa from Muttom, Southeast Coast of India. Int. J. Cur. Tr. Res. 3:43-46.

Fent, K., Weston, A. and Daniel, C. 2006. Ecotoxicology of human pharmaceuticals. Aquatic Toxicology. 76(20), 122–159.

Ferrari, B., Mons, R., Vollat, B., Fraysse, B., Paxeus, N. and Giudice, L.R. 2004. Environmental risk assessment of six human pharmaceuticals: are the current environmental risk assessment procedures sufficient for the protection of the aquatic environment?. Environ Toxicol Chem. 23(5), 1344–1354.

Florey, K. Book (Eds), 1983. Analytical profiles of drug substances. Academic Press, 12, 277-324.

Gröber, U. and Kisters, K. 2012. Influence of drugs on vitamin D and calcium metabolism. Dermato-Endocrinology. 4(2), 158-166

Haider, M.J. and Rauf, A. 2014. Sub-lethal effects of diazinon on hematological indices and blood biochemical parameters in Indian carp, Cirrhinus mrigala (Hamilton). Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. 57(6), 947-953.

Hernando, M.D., Mezcua, M., Alba, F.A.R. and Barcelo, D. 2006. Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceutical residues in wastewater effluents, surface waters and sediments. Talanta. 69(2), 334–342.

Jerome, M., Diamond, M., Arolyn, J., David, P.G. and Ruber, D.G. 1990. Rapid detection of sub lethal toxicity using fish ventilatory behavior. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 9(1), 3-11.

Jilna, A.N. and John, T.K. 2011. Effect of sub lethal concentration of methyl parathion on the behavioural activities of the climbing perch (Anabas tesudineus: bloch). Adv Appl Sci Res. 2, 167–172.

Karaman, R. 2015. Commonly used drugs - uses, side effects, bioavailability & approaches to improve it. Nova Science Pub Inc; UK ed. Edition, 292: ISBN: 978-1-63463-828-9.

Kumari, T.K. and Rao, G.G. 2018. Effect of phenthoate 50% ec on oxygen consumption of freshwater fish Catla catla. International Journal of Science and Research. 7(11), 1515-1521.

Larsen, H.N. and Snieszko, S.F. 1961. Comparison of various method of determintion of haemoglobin in trout blood. Fish Culture. 23(1), 8-7.

Li, Z.H, Velisek, J., Zlabek, V., Grabic, R., Machova, J., Kolarova, J., Li, P.and Randak, T. 2011. Chronic toxicity of verapamil on juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): effects on morphological indices, hematological parameters and antioxidant responses. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 185(2-3), 870-880.

Logaswamy, S. and Remia, K.M. (2009). Impact of cypermethrin and ekalux on respiratory and some biochemical activities of a freshwater fish, Tilapia mossambica. J. Curr. Biotica. 3(1), 65-73.

Lokhande, M.V. 2017. Oxygen consumption and behaviour surveillance in the freshwater fish Rasbora daniconius exposed to dimethoate. Int. J. Fish. Aquat. Stud. 5(2), 712-716.

Magare, S.R. and Patil, H.T. 2000. Effect of pesticides on oxygen consumption, red blood cell count and metabolites of fish, Puntius ticto. Environ. Ecol. 18, 891–894.

Marigoudar, S.R., Ahmed, R.N. and David, M. 2009. Cypermethrin induced respiratory and behavioural responses of the freshwater teleost, Labeo rohita (Hamilton). Veterinarski arhiv. 79(6), 583-590.

More, B. 2016. Overview of medicine- its importance and impact. DJ International Journal of Medical Research, 1(1), 1-8.

Murthy, K.S., Kiran, B.R and Venkateshwarlu, M. 2013. A review on toxicity of pesticides in Fish. Int. J. Open Sci. Res.1(1), 15–36.

Mushigeri, S.B. 2003. Effect of fenvalerate on the metabolism of in Indian major carp, Cirrhinus mrigala. Ph.D. Thesis. Karnatak University, Dharwad, Karnataka India.

Neelima, P., Rao, N.G., Rao, G.S. and Rao, J.C.S. 2016. A study on oxygen consumption in a freshwater fish Cyprinus carpio exposed to lethal and sub lethal concentrations of cypermethrin (25%Ec). Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci. 5(4), 338-346.

Nwani, C.D., Mkpadobi, B.N., Onyishi, G., Echi, P.C., Chukwuka, C.O., Oluah, S.N. and Ivoke, N. 2014. Changes in behavior and hematological parameters of freshwater african catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) following sublethal exposure to chloramphenicol. Drug and Chemical Toxicology. 37(1), 107-113.

Nwani, C.D., Odo, G.E., Nwadinigwe, A.O., Onyeke, C.C., Atama, C.I., Ngwu, G., Oluah, S.N., Ukonze, J.A and Ezeibe, B.C.A. 2016. Short-term effects of albendazole on the oxidative stress markers and hematological parameters in tissues of african catfish clarias gariepinus. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health. 28, 222-228.

Otomo, S., Higuchi, S., Nakaike, S., Takeshita, K., Tanaka, M., Gotoh, Y., Osada, Y., Tsuchida, K., Inoue, K., Kyogoku, K., Tarumoto, Y., Sasajima, M. and Ohzeki, M. 1981. Pharmacological study on hydrocortisone 17-butyrate 21-propionate. Folia Pharmacologica Japonica. 78 (6), 647–658.

Patil, J.A., Patil, A. and Govindwar, S.P. 2003. Biochemical effects of various pesticides on sprayers of grape gardens. Indian J. Clin. Biochem.18, 16–22.

Prasanna, C., Anithasmruthi, C. and Rathnamma, V.V. 2020. A study on oxygen consumption in freshwater fish labeo rohita exposed to lethal and sub lethal concentrations of ethion 50% Ec. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology. 14(2), 122-127.

Prashanth, M.S., David, M. and Kuri, R.C. 2003. Effect of cypermethrin on toxicity and oxygen consumption in the freshwater fish, Cirrhinus mrigala. J. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Monitoring. 13(4), 271–277.

Renuka, S., Poopal, R., Ramesh, M. and Bindu, F.C. 2018. Responses of Labeo rohita fingerlings to n-acetyl-p-aminophenol toxicity. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 157, 73-80.

Rezaei, M., Moradi, A.M, Mortazavi, P. and Jamili, S. 2020. Effects of chronic exposure to carbamazepine on hematological parameters in Cyprinus carpio. Iranian journal of fisheries sciences.19(1), 443-456.

Sadasivudu, B., Rao, I.T, Radha, C. and Murthy, K. 1977. Metabolic effects of hydrocortisone in mouse brain. Neurochem Res., 2(5), 521-32.

Saravanan, M. 2014. Pharmaceutical residues in India: impact on aquatic environment. Current Science, 107(10), 1634-1635.

Saravanan, M., Devi, K.U., Malarvizhi, A. and Ramesh, M. 2012. Effects of ibuprofen on hematological, biochemical and enzymological parameters of blood in an indian major carp, Cirrhinus mirgala. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology. 34(1), 14-22.

Saravanan, M., Karthika, S., Malarvizhi, A. and Ramesh, M. 2011. Ecotoxicological impacts of clofibric acid and diclofenac in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) fingerlings: hematological, biochemical, ionoregulatory and enzymological responses. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 195, 188-194.

Sarkis, M., Bernardi, A., Shah, N. and Papathanasiou, M.M. 2021. Emerging challenges and opportunities in pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution. Processes, 9(3), 2-16.

Shivakumar, R. and David, M. 2004. Toxicity of endosulfan to the freshwater fish, Cyprinus carpio. Indian J. Ecol. 31, 27–29.

Srivastav, A.K., Srivastava, S.K, Mishra, D. and Suzuki, N. 2009. Effects of deltamethrin on serum calcium and corpuscles of stannius of freshwater catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis. Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry. 91(4), 761-772.

Srivastav, A.K., Srivastava, S.K., Mishra, D. and Srivastav, S. 2010. Deltamethrin-induced alterations in serum calcium and prolactin cells of a freshwater teleost, Heteropneustes fossilis. Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry. 92(10), 1857-1864.

Strickland, I.D. and Parsons, T.R. 1972. Practical handbook of seawater analysis. Bull. 167(second edition), 203.

Susan, T.A., Sobha, K. and Tilak, K.S. 2010. A study on acute toxicity, oxygen consumption, and behavioural changes in the three major carps, Labeo rohita (ham), Catla catla (ham) and Cirrhinus mrigala (ham) exposed to fenvalerate. Bioresearch Bull. 1, 35–43.

Tam, N.T, Berg, H., Tuyen, P.T.B.T. and Cong, N.V. 2015. Effect of chlorpyrifos ethyl on acetylcholinesterase activity in climbing perch (Anabas testudineus, Bloch, 1972). Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 69(4), 1-132.

Umamaheswari, S., Renuka, S.S, Ramesh, M.and Poopal, R. 2019. Chronic amoxicillin exposure affects Labeo rohita: assessment of hematological, ionic compounds, biochemical, and enzymological activities. Heliyon. 5(4), 1-25.

Vani, G., Veeraiah, K., Kumar, M.V. and Parveen, S.K. 2020. Effect of cartap hydrochloride (50% sp) on oxygen consumption of fresh water fish, Cirrhinus Mrigala (Hamilton). Poll Res. 39(2), 368-372.

Veni, S.S.M. and Veeraiah, K. 2014. Effect of cypermethrin (10%ec) on oxygen consumption and histopathology of freshwater fish Cirrhinus mrigala (Hamilton). IOSR J. Environ. Sci., Toxicol. Food Technol. 8, 12–20.

Vestergaard, P. 2008. Adverse effects of drugs on bone and calcium metabolism/physiology. Clinic Rev Bone Miner Metab. 6(1), 1-16.

Vidya, P.V., Asifa, K.P. and Chitra, K.C. 2016. Effect of silica-nanoparticles (sio2-nps) on oxygen consumption in freshwater fish, Oreochromis Mossambicus (PETERS, 1852). Journal of Global Biosciences. 5(1), 3611-3614.

Vutukuru, S.S. 2005. Acute effects of hexavalent chromium on survival, oxygen consumption, haematological parameters and some biochemical profiles of the indian major carp, Labeo rohita. Int. J. Environ. Res. Pub. Health. 2(3), 456–462.

Yang, R., Brauner, C., Thurston, V., Neuman, J. and Randall, D.J. 2000. Relationship between toxicant transfer kinetic processes and fish oxygen consumption. Aquat. Toxicol. 48(2-3), 95-108.

Yasir, M., Goyal, A., Bansal, P. and Sonthalia, S. 2021. Corticosteroid adverse effects. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.