Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Philip Johns

Abstract/Artist's Statement

All aerobic organisms rely on oxygen for survival. Oxygen is an essential component of many cellular processes including cellular metabolism, intercellular and intracellular signaling and immune system response. Oxygen through generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can severely damage with DNA, proteins and other cellular components becoming problematic (Kryston et al. 2011). Organisms have evolved ways to balance the essential and detrimental effects of oxygen within the cellular environment. Antioxidant enzymes are proteins produced by cells to minimize the harmful affects of oxidative damage caused by ROS (Barzilai and Yamamoto, 2004). Ethanol, which is a widely consumed drug, can exacerbate the damaging effects of oxygen through the production of excess ROS involved in ethanol metabolism. This study measured the production levels of 3 key antioxidant enzymes (CuZnSOD, MnSOD and CAT) in the brain, gonads and liver of zebrafish during and after exposure to ethanol. Antioxidant enzyme production will be measured by qPCR of cDNA transcribed from RNA samples extracted directly from tissue. It was found that different tissues show remarkably different expression patterns of antioxidant enzymes under the same conditions of acute alcohol exposure. Brain tissues show no significant change in antioxidant expression levels. The highest expression levels were found in gonad tissue. This study gives insight into the beneficial effects and transcriptional mechanisms of antioxidant enzymes in response to oxidative damage, which may protect DNA from excess reactive oxygen species produced by acute ethanol exposure.

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