Microplastics are well-documented pollutants in the marine environment that result from production or fragmentation of larger plastic items. The knowledge about the direct effects of microplastics on immunity, including fish, is still very limited. We investigated the in vitro effects of microplastics [polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE)] on gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) head-kidney leucocytes (HKLs). After 1 and 24 h of exposure of HKLs with 0 (control), 1, 10 and 100 mg mL−1 MPs in a rotatory system, cell viability, innate immune parameters (phagocytic, respiratory burst and peroxidase activities) and the expression of genes related to inflammation (il1b), oxidative stress (nrf2, prdx3), metabolism of xenobiotics (cyp1a1, mta) and cell apoptosis (casp3) were studied. Microplastics failed to affect the cell viability of HKLs. In addition, they provoke very few significant effects on the main cellular innate immune activities, as decrease on phagocytosis or increase in the respiratory burst of HKLs with the highest dose of microplastics tested. Furthermore, microplastics failed to affect the expression of the selected genes on sea bass or seabream, except the nrf2 which was up-regulated in seabream HKLs incubated with the highest doses. Present results seem to suggest that continue exposure of fish to PVC or PE microplastics could impair fish immune parameters probably due to the oxidative stress produced in the fish leucocytes.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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