Physiological biomarkers of hypoxic stress in red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from field and laboratory experiments

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The crayfish industry in Louisiana is the largest in the United States, with crayfish frequently harvested from waters that experience episodic or chronic hypoxia (dissolved oxygen [DO]≤ 2 mg/l). We examined physiological biomarkers (hemolymph lactate, glucose, and protein concentrations) of hypoxic stress in the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from chronically hypoxic natural habitats and laboratory hypoxia experiments. P. clarkii from normoxic and hypoxic areas in the Atchafalaya River Basin were sampled monthly from April to July 2010. Laboratory experiments subjected P. clarkii to severe hypoxia (1 mg/l DO), moderate hypoxia (2 mg/l DO), or normoxic conditions (control: DO>7.5 mg/l) for 12, 24, and 48 h. P. clarkii from normoxic and hypoxic natural habitats did not display significantly different hemolymph lactate or glucose concentrations; however, mean hemolymph protein concentration was significantly lower in crayfish from hypoxic areas. P. clarkii exposed to severe hypoxia in laboratory experiments had significantly higher hemolymph lactate and glucose concentrations for all three exposure times, whereas large differences in protein concentrations were not observed. These results suggest that elevated hemolymph lactate and glucose concentrations are responses to acute hypoxia in P. clarkii, while differences in protein concentrations are the result of chronic hypoxic exposure.

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Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology

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