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Differential sensitivity of three marine invertebrates to copper assessed using multiple biomarkers
Brown, R.J.; Galloway, T.S.; Lowe, D.; Browne, M.A.; Dissanayake, A.; Jones, M.B.; Depledge, M.H. (2004). Differential sensitivity of three marine invertebrates to copper assessed using multiple biomarkers. Aquat. Toxicol. 66(3): 267-278.
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Acetylcholinesterase; Biomarkers; Copper; Heart rate; Heart rate; Heart rate; Marine invertebrates; Metallothionein; Metallothioneins; Neurotransmitters; Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Patella vulgata Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, British Isles, England, Devon [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    biomarkers; differential sensitivity; copper; heart rate;acetylchlinesterase; metallothionein

Authors  Top 
  • Brown, R.J., correspondent
  • Galloway, T.S.
  • Lowe, D.
  • Browne, M.A.
  • Dissanayake, A.
  • Jones, M.B.
  • Depledge, M.H.

    Understanding how biomarkers relate to each other on exposure to particular contaminants in different species is key to their widespread application in environmental management. However, few studies have systematically used multiple biomarkers in more than a single species to determine the variability of sublethal effects of a particular contaminant. In this study, three marine invertebrates, the shore crab Carcinus maenas, the common limpet Patella vulgata and the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, were exposed over 7 days in the laboratory to environmentally realistic concentrations of the priority pollutant copper. A combination of molecular, cellular and physiological biomarkers was measured in each organism to detect the toxic effects of copper. Biomarkers included lysosomal stability (neutral red retention), neurotoxicity (acetylcholinesterase activity), metabolic impairment (total haemolymph protein), physiological status (heart rate) and induction of protective metallothionein proteins. P. vulgata was the most sensitive to copper with significant effects measured in all biomarkers at concentrations of 6.1 µg Cu l-1. In C. maenas, cellular and neurotoxic endpoints were affected significantly only at 68.1 µg Cu l-1. Exposure to copper also induced metallothionein production in crabs. Over a 7-day exposure period, M. edulis was the most tolerant species to copper with significant effects being observed at the cellular level only at 68.1 µg Cu l-1. In all three species, cellular and neurotoxic pathways were more sensitive to disruption than physiological processes (protein and heart rate). Results illustrate how a suite of biomarkers applied to different sentinel species can provide a `diagnosis of stress', whereby, effects at the molecular level can be used to interpret the level of physiological impairment of the organism.

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