Background: A study was conducted to evaluate the serum biochemical and oxidative stress parameters of catfish (Clarias gariepinus) obtained from homestead ponds in Makurdi metropolis, Nigeria, in order to establish changes due to stress from transportation, following the pretreatment of transporting water with palm oil and aqua anti-stress. Serum samples were obtained from the blood collected from the fish a day before, just before loading the fish, immediately after journey, and 3 days post-transportation. The samples were used to analyze for some oxidative stress markers like malon dialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and other biochemical parameters such as; alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TRG).
Results: There was a significant (p<0.05) increase in MDA levels of low dose palm oil-treated water (PA) group compared with the control (C) just before journey, while there was no significant (p>0.05) difference in MDA levels of PA group compared with the control after the journey. However, there was no significant (p>0.05) difference in the MDA levels of aqua anti-stress agent-treated water (A) group compared with the control, before the journey and after the journey. There was a significantly (P<0.05) elevated activities of ALT, AST and ALP in palm oil-pretreated water (PA and PB) groups when compared with the control, just before the journey and immediately after the journey. However, there was no significant (p>0.05) difference in the ALT, AST and ALP activities of aqua anti-stress agent-treated water (A) group when compared with the control, before the journey and after the journey. There was no significant (p>0.05) difference in the TC and TRG levels of A, PA and PB groups when compared with the control group, before the journey and after the journey. The ALT, AST and ALP activities of the fish transported in water treated with palm oil were markedly reduced at the end of the journey when compared with the levels just before the journey.
Conclusion: The findings of this study have shown that both aqua anti-stress agent and palm oil may improve the biochemical parameters of African catfish, which enhanced their responses to stress during the eight hour journey but the conventional anti-stress agent was more effective than palm oil.
Key words: Anti-stress, Catfish, Hepatotoxicity, Oxidative stress, Palm oil, Transportation