Genotoxic damage in polychaetes: a study of species and cell-type sensitivities.Mutat Res. 2008 Jun 30; 654(1):69-75.MR
The marine environment is becoming increasingly contaminated by environmental pollutants with the potential to damage DNA, with marine sediments acting as a sink for many of these contaminants. Understanding genotoxic responses in sediment-dwelling marine organisms, such as polychaetes, is therefore of increasing importance. This study is an exploration of species-specific and cell-specific differences in cell sensitivities to DNA-damaging agents in polychaete worms, aimed at increasing fundamental knowledge of their responses to genotoxic damage. The sensitivities of coelomocytes from three polychaetes species of high ecological relevance, i.e. the lugworm Arenicola marina, the harbour ragworm Nereis diversicolor and the king ragworm Nereis virens to genotoxic damage are compared, and differences in sensitivities of their different coelomic cell types determined by use of the comet assay. A. marina was found to be the most sensitive to genotoxic damage induced by the direct-acting mutagen methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), and showed dose-dependent responses to MMS and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon benzo(a)pyrene. Significant differences in sensitivity were also measured for the different types of coelomocyte. Eleocytes were more sensitive to induction of DNA damage than amoebocytes in both N. virens and N. diversicolor. Spermatozoa from A. marina showed significant DNA damage following in vitro exposure to MMS, but were less sensitive to DNA damage than coelomocytes. This investigation has clearly demonstrated that different cell types within the same species and different species within the polychaetes show significantly different responses to genotoxic insult. These findings are discussed in terms of the relationship between cell function and sensitivity and their implications for the use of polychaetes in environmental genotoxicity studies.