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Immunological responses, histopathological finding and disease resistance of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) exposed to treated and untreated municipal wastewater
Akaishi, F.M.; St-Jean, S.D.; Bishay, F.; Clarke, J.; da S. Rabitto, I.; de Oliveira Ribeiro, C.A. (2007). Immunological responses, histopathological finding and disease resistance of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) exposed to treated and untreated municipal wastewater. Aquat. Toxicol. 82(1): 1-14. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2007.01.008
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Bioassays; Sewage; Waste water; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Akaishi, F.M.
  • St-Jean, S.D.
  • Bishay, F.
  • Clarke, J.
  • da S. Rabitto, I.
  • de Oliveira Ribeiro, C.A.

Abstract
    This study provides new information on the response of the immune system of Mytilus edulis exposed to untreated and treated sewage, linking immune response to ecologically relevant endpoints, such as disease resistance. Our goal was to assess the potential effects of sewage on the immune system (phagocytic activity and production of cytotoxic metabolites, disease resistance) and gills (light microscope) of mussels through a bioassay and field study in an estuarine receiving environment (RE). A semi-static experiment was developed in a wastewater treatment plant in New Glasgow, NS Canada. Mussels were exposed for 21 days to 12.5%, 25%, 50% and 100% of untreated sewage influent and artificial seawater control. Sampling occurred after 7, 14 and 21 days of exposure. In the field study, eight sites were selected in East River and Pictou Harbour, NS, positioned upstream and downstream of sewage effluents outfalls. Caged mussels were exposed to the RE for 90 days (May–July 2005). Mussels were challenged to test their efficiency at eliminating the bacteria, Listonella anguillarium in the bioassay and field studies. The bioassay results showed that higher concentrations of untreated sewage could modulate the immune system of mussels through increased of phagocytic activity (PA), nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production during 14 days of exposure, and decreased activity and production at 21 days, with the exception of H2O2 production which was high even at 21 days. Mussels exposed to untreated sewage RE also presented a high PA, NO and H2O2 production and lower number of haemocytes compared to mussels from reference sites. In the bacterial challenge, mussels pre-exposed to 100% sewage died 24 h after being infected with L. anguillarium, while mussels pre-exposed to 50% eliminated bacteria had a mortality rate of 30%. Mussels from the control, 12.5% and 25% groups eliminated bacteria and no mortality was observed. No significant difference was observed in bacterial clearance in mussels exposed to effluents in the RE. The lesions observed in gills in both studies were: infiltration of haemocytes in the tissue, epithelium proliferation, lamellar fusion and dilated haemolymphatic sinus. In summary, untreated municipal wastewater affected the immune system of blue mussels during 21 days of exposure and the effects were reflected in their capability to resist pathogens. And an immune modulation was observed in mussels exposed to untreated sewage in a RE, but this modulation was not reflected in the mussel's capability in eliminating pathogens.

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