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Sublethal actions of copper in abalone (Haliotis rufescens) as characterized by in vivo 31P NMR
Viant, M.R.; Walton, J.H.; TenBrook, P.L.; Tjeerdema, R.S. (2002). Sublethal actions of copper in abalone (Haliotis rufescens) as characterized by in vivo 31P NMR. Aquat. Toxicol. 57(3): 139-151
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Copper; Energy; Hypoxia; Marine molluscs; Metabolism; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Sublethal effects; Haliotis rufescens Swainson, 1822 [WoRMS]

Authors  Top 
  • Viant, M.R., correspondent
  • Walton, J.H.
  • TenBrook, P.L.
  • Tjeerdema, R.S.

    The sublethal biochemical actions of copper in live, intact red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) were characterized by in vivo 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). This non-invasive technique is ideal for examining cellular respiration since critical metabolite concentrations, including phosphoarginine ([PA]), inorganic phosphate ([Pi]) and [ATP], and the arginine kinase (AK) rate constant, can be monitored in real time. Both metabolite concentrations and enzyme rate constants were measured in abalone during 8-h exposures to 66 μg l-1 (1.04 μM) and 126 μg l-1 (1.98 μM) copper (as CuCl2). Significant decreases in [PA] and corresponding increases in [Pi] resulted, while [ATP] remained constant. In controls [PA], [Pi] and [ATP] all remained unchanged. Furthermore, both copper concentrations induced a significant elevation in the forward AK rate constant over the basal value of 0.020 ± 0.002 s-1. Metabolite levels and enzyme rate constants were also measured during 8-h 66 μg l-1 copper exposures both before and after a 2-week subchronic exposure to 36 μg l-1 (0.57 μM) copper. Unlike before the subchronic exposure, no significant changes in [PA], [Pi] or [ATP] were observed after the 36 μg l-1 copper treatment, compared with controls. This induced tolerance was also evident from the forward AK rate constant data. Finally, copper accumulation was determined in gill, digestive gland and foot muscle samples. Whereas acute exposure only led to significant accumulation in the gill, copper levels in subchronically exposed abalone were significantly elevated in both the gill and digestive gland, and marginally so in foot muscle. Overall, the gill appears to be the primary site of copper accumulation and toxicity, while the foot and adductor muscles maybe secondarily impacted. The observed metabolic changes may result from insufficient oxygen delivery to the muscles, resulting from mucus accumulation or cytological damage at the gill. In conclusion, abalone acutely exposed to copper pollution may develop asphyxial hypoxia. Since their survival is dependent on adherence to rock surfaces, such a reduction of muscle function could ultimately prove fatal.

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