Mediation of oxidative stress toxicity induced by pyrethroid pesticides in fish

Changwon Yang, Whasun Lim, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides are banned in most countries because they cause high toxicity and bioaccumulation in non-target organisms. Pyrethroid pesticides have been applied to agriculture and aquaculture since the 1970s to replace traditional pesticides. However, pyrethroids are approximately 1000 times more toxic to fish than to mammals and birds. Fish-specific organs such as the gills and their late metabolic action against this type of pesticide make fish highly susceptible to the toxicity of pyrethroid pesticides. Oxidative stress plays an important role in the neurological, reproductive, and developmental toxicity caused by pyrethroids. Deltamethrin, cypermethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin are representative pyrethroid pesticides that induce oxidative stress in tissues such as the gills, liver, and muscles of fish and cause histopathological changes. Although they are observed in low concentrations in aquatic environments such as rivers, lakes, and surface water they induce DNA damage and apoptosis in fish. Pyrethroid pesticides cause ROS-mediated oxidative stress in fish species including carp, tilapia, and trout. They also cause lipid peroxidation and alter the state of DNA, proteins, and lipids in the cells of fish. Moreover, changes in antioxidant enzyme activity following pyrethroid pesticide exposure make fish more susceptible to oxidative stress caused by environmental pollutants. In this review, we examine the occurrence of pyrethroid pesticides in the aquatic environment and oxidative stress-induced toxicity in fish exposed to pyrethroids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108758
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug


  • Deltamethrin
  • Fish
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pesticides
  • Pyrethroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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