ISSN 10630740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2010, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 201–208. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2010.
Original Russian Text © E.P. Kotsyuba, I.V. Dyuizen, N.E. Lamash, 2010, published in Biologiya Morya.
Due to the deterioration of the ecological situation
in some regions of the world’s oceans, the study of pol
lution influences on the state of marine invertebrates is
becoming increasingly more topical. The change in
the chemical composition of sea water and bottom
sediments as a consequence of anthropogenic pollu
tion is a stress for marine organisms, which primarily
affects the functioning of the neuromediatory and
hormonal systems. Most studies concerned with this
problem have mainly focused on the exchange of bio
genic amines as leading mediators of movement and
the emotional components of behavior [27, 33].
Stressinduced imbalance of catecholamines, seroto
nin, and glucocorticoid hormones in the nervous tis
sue and hemolymph of invertebrates alters the course
of their adaptive responses under acute and chronic
stress [13, 21].
The NOergic mechanisms for the regulation of
stress reactions in invertebrates have been studied
rather incompletely, despite the proven role of the NO
system in the modulation of the nervous and humoral
processes. It is well known that functionally important
changes in the NOergic mechanisms of the central
nervous system significantly contribute to regulating
the behavioral response to nociceptive stress in insects
and mollusks . However, despite the growing num
ber of publications devoted to the role of nitric oxide in
the adaptation to various stress factors, the literature
The article was translated by the authors.
known to us provides no information concerning the
character of the influence of anthropogenic pollution
on the brain NOergic activity and behavioral
responses of invertebrates under the combined effects
of various factors.
The aim of this investigation was to study the
changes in the activity of the brain NO system during
acute stress in shore crabs living under different eco
MATERIAL AND METHODS
This work was performed on adult shore crabs
(De Haan, 1835) (Decapoda:
Varunidae) with a carapace of 43–45 mm sampled at
two locations in the Sea of Japan differing in their
degrees of pollution: in Amursky Bay near the mouth
of the Pervaya Rechka River (station 1) and in Vostok
Bay (station 2). Station 1 was located in one of the
most heavily polluted areas of Amursky Bay. The water
here contains large amounts of xenobiotics of different
natures, such as nutrients, heavy metals, and oil
hydrocarbons from the domestic and industrial sewage
of Vladivostok ; the silty bottom sediments contain
high concentrations of heavy metals and DDT .
Station 2 (reference station) was situated in a relatively
clean area with a low anthropogenic pressure. After
capture, crabs from different stations were maintained
separately in aerated aquaria. Prior to the experi
ments, crabs from each station were divided into three
StressInduced Changes in the Nitric Oxide System of Shore Crabs
Living under Different Ecological Conditions
E. P. Kotsyuba, I. V. Dyuizen, and N. E. Lamash
Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia
Received September 15, 2009
—The NO synthesis system in the brain and hemolymph of shore crabs
(Decapoda: Varunidae) living under different ecological conditions was examined under normal conditions
and under acute stress. Intact crabs sampled from an area with a high anthropogenic load had a higher initial
level of NO compared to crabs from a relatively clean location. After acute damaging exposure, the dynamics
of the NO system activity in crabs from different stations differed markedly. The number of NOpositive ele
ments in the brain and the level of NO metabolites in the hemolymph dramatically increased immediately
after injuries in all groups of crabs. One hour after acute exposure, the expression of inducible NOsynthase
in the protocerebral neurons was observed in crabs inhabiting the chronically polluted area. These results
demonstrate for the first time the influence of pollution on the activity of NOergic processes and the involve
ment of nitric oxide in the formation of behavioral defense response in crustaceans under acute stress.
stress, nitric oxide, NOsynthase, brain, crabs, pollution.