Pollution biomarkers in the spiny lizard (Sceloporus spp.) from two suburban populations of Monterrey, Mexico

Carlos Aguilera, Pamela Gonzalez Del Pliego, Roberto Mendoza Alfaro, David Lazcano, Julio Cruz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Scopus citations


    Environmental pollution may severely impact reptile species in urbanized areas. The magnitude of the impact is analyzed in the present study using lizard tail tips for the quantitative evaluation of enzymatic biomarkers of pollution. Spiny lizards (Sceloporus serrifer and S. torquatus) were collected from two suburban localities in the Monterrey metropolitan area, Mexico: Chipinque Ecological Park, a natural protected area, and El Carmen Industrial Park (IP), a highly polluted site. Different enzymes were used as biomarkers including: acetylcholinesterase (AChE), butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), carboxylesterase (CaE), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), acid phosphatase (ACP), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione S-transferase (GST). The levels of AChE, BChE and ACP activity were not significantly different between localities. AChE and BChE, commonly used as biomarkers of neurotoxic polluting agents (e.g. organophosphate pesticides) do not appear to be affecting the populations from the study locations. In contrast, the levels of CaE, GST, ALP and SOD were significantly different between the localities. These biomarkers are regularly associated with oxidative stress and processes of detoxification, and generally indicate pollution caused by heavy metals or hydrocarbons, which are common in industrial sites. The data resulting from the analysis of these biomarkers indicate that these polluting agents are affecting the populations of Sceloporus in IP. The present work validates the possibility of conducting additional ecotoxicological studies using biomarkers in combination with a nondestructive sampling technique in species of spiny lizards that are abundant in many North America areas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2103-2112
    Number of pages10
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Nov 2012


    • Biomarkers
    • Lizards
    • Pollution
    • Reptiles
    • Sceloporus


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