Combination of a pesticide exposure and a bacterial challenge: in vivo effects on immune response of Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg).Aquat Toxicol. 2007 Aug 15; 84(1):92-102.AT
To assess the impact of pollution induced by pesticides on Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, health in France, in vivo effects of combined pesticide exposure and bacterial challenge on cell activities and gene expression in hemocytes were tested using flow cytometry and real-time PCR. As a first step, an in vivo model of experimental contamination was developed. Pacific oysters were exposed to a mixture of eight pesticides (atrazine, glyphosate, alachlor, metolachlor, fosetyl-alumimium, terbuthylazine, diuron and carbaryl) at environmentally relevant concentrations over a 7-day period. Hemocyte parameters (cell mortality, enzyme activities and phagocytosis) were monitored using flow cytometry and gene expression was evaluated by real-time PCR (RT-PCR). The expression of 19 genes involved in C. gigas hemocyte functions was characterized using RT-PCR. After 7 days of exposure, phagocytosis was significantly reduced and the 19 selected genes were down-regulated in treated animals. As a second step, the experimental contamination method previously developed was used to study interactions between pesticide exposure and bacterial challenge by intramuscular injection of two Vibrio splendidus-related pathogenic strains. Oyster mortality and expression of 10 of the 19 selected genes were followed 4 and 24h post-injection. Oyster mortality was higher in pesticide-treated oysters compared to untreated oysters after the bacterial challenge. Gene expression was up-regulated in pesticide-treated oysters compared to untreated oysters after the bacterial challenge. We hypothesize that gene over-expression due to an interaction between pesticides and bacteria could lead to an injury of host tissues, resulting in higher mortality rates. In conclusion, this study is the first to show effects of pesticides at environmentally relevant concentrations on C. gigas hemocytes and to hypothesize that pesticides modulate the immune response to a bacterial challenge in oysters.