Gadolinium perturbs expression of skeletogenic genes, calcium uptake and larval development in phylogenetically distant sea urchin species

Chiara Martino, Maria Carmela Roccheri, Demian Koop, Chiara Martino, Rosaria Scudiero, Caterina Costa, Maria Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Chelates of Gadolinium (Gd), a lanthanide metal, are employed as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging and are released into the aquatic environment where they are an emerging contaminant. We studied the effects of environmentally relevant Gd concentrations on the development of two phylogenetically and geographically distant sea urchin species: the Mediterranean Paracentrotus lividus and the Australian Heliocidaris tuberculata. We found a general delay of embryo development at 24h post-fertilization, and a strong inhibition of skeleton growth at 48h. Total Gd and Ca content in the larvae showed a time- and concentration-dependent increase in Gd, in parallel with a reduction in Ca. To investigate the impact of Gd on the expression of genes involved in the regulation of skeletogenesis, we performed comparative RT-PCR analysis and found a misregulation of several genes involved in the skeletogenic and left-right axis specification gene regulatory networks. Species-specific differences in the biomineralization response were evident, likely due to differences in the skeletal framework of the larvae and the amount of biomineral produced. Our results highlight the hazard of Gd for marine organisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this