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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 62:155-161 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao062155

Effect of hexavalent carcinogenic chromium on carp Cyprinus carpio immune cells

Dieter Steinhagen1,*, Tobias Helmus1, Stephan Maurer1, R. Dinakaran Michael3, Wolfgang Leibold2, Jörn P. Scharsack1, Andreas Skouras1, Hans-Joachim Schuberth2

1Fish Disease Research Unit, 2Immunology Unit, Hannover School of Veterinary Medicine, Bünteweg 17, 30559 Hannover, Germany
3Centre for Fish Immunology, Postgraduate and Research Department of Zoology, Lady Doak College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

ABSTRACT: Chromium is widely used in industrial processes, and is released into aquatic environments by electroplating, tannery and textile industries. Fishes in natural waters or in aquaculture facilities supplied with these waters are exposed to chromium waste and are presumed to be affected by deposits. Herein, we examine the effect of hexavalent chromium on carp Cyprinus carpio derived immune cells. In vitro exposure of carp leukocytes to hexavalent chromium induced cytotoxicity, decreased mitogen-induced lymphocyte activation and phagocyte functions at concentrations between 2 and 200 µmol Cr l–1. Neutrophils responded to chromium challenge by changes in cell shape together with reduced nitric oxide and reactive oxygen production. This occurred at much lower concentrations than for the cytotoxic effects seen in leukocyte cultures derived from peripheral blood or pronephros. In a similar way, activation of carp lymphocytes by pokeweed mitogen was reduced in a dose-dependent manner, while cytotoxic effects on non-activated lymphocytes were observed at much higher doses of 200 µmol Cr l–l. Altered lymphocyte and neutrophil functions are considered to be responsible for decreased resistance to pathogens observed in fishes under chronic chromium challenge.

KEY WORDS: Heavy metal · Hexavalent chromium · Cytotoxity · Immunomodulation

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