Effects of organic mercury on Mytilus galloprovincialis hemocyte function and morphology

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Abstract: Filter-feeding organisms accumulate xenobiotics and other substances in their tissues. They can be useful as sentinel organisms in biomonitoring of the marine compartment. Bivalve cellular immunity is ensured by phagocytosis and cytotoxic reactions carried out by hemocytes in a network with humoral responses. These can be affected by chemical contaminants in water that can be immunosuppressors also at a low concentration increasing the sensibility to pathogens. This work is an attempt to individuate cellular markers for pollution detection, investigating the effect of methylmercury (CH3HgCl) at different concentrations on the activity and hemocyte morphology of the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. We assessed the effect of three sub-lethal concentrations of the organometal on the cellular morphology, the efficacy of phagocytosis toward yeast cells, the alteration of the lysosomal membrane and the ability to release cytotoxic molecules. The results provide information on the alteration of hemocyte viability, modification of the morphological and cytoskeletal features and besides the cellular spreading, intrinsic ability of motile cells was used as a complementary investigation method. Exposure to the contaminant affected the percentage of phagocytosis and the phagocytosis index. Moreover, morphological and cytoskeleton alteration, caused by the pollutant, leads to reduced ability to incorporate the target and adhere to the substrate and the low ability of cells to retain neutral red could depend on the effects of methylmercury on membrane permeability. These results reinforce the use of the Mediterranean mussel as model for the evaluation of environmental quality in aquatic ecosystems integrating the novel information about hemocyte functions and morphology sensibility to organic mercury. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine16
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1300.1303???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1300.1314???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1100.1103???
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