Tissue distribution of microcystin (MC)-LR-GSH, MC-LR-Cys and MC-LR of omnivorous fish in Lake Taihu was investigated. MC-LR and MC-LR-Cys were detected in liver, kidney and muscle. The concentration of MC-LR in liver and kidney was 0.052 μg g−1 DW and 0.067 μg g−1 DW, respectively. MC-LR-Cys appeared to be an important metabolite with average contents of 1.104 μg g−1 DW and 0.724 μg g−1 DW in liver and kidney, and the MC-LR-Cys/MC-LR ratio in liver and kidney reaching as high as 21.4 and 10.8. High MC-LR-Cys/MC-LR ratio and a significant correlation between MC-LR-Cys and MC-LR concentration in liver, suggest that liver is more active in detoxification of MC-LR by formation of MC-LR-Cys for omnivorous fish. Furthermore, there might be a balance between the accumulation and depuration/metabolism of MC-LR-Cys in kidney. The MC-LR-Cys can be formed in kidney directly, or transported from liver or other tissues, while the MC-LR-Cys in kidney might be dissociated to MC-LR or excreted. Although MC-LR and its metabolites were scarcely detected in muscle, it is necessary to investigate the distribution of toxic metabolites in edible muscle.

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