Effects of copper exposure on the energy metabolism in juveniles of the marine clam Mesodesma mactroides
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In freshwater osmoregulating mollusks, Cu can cause toxicity by inducing ionoregulatory disturbances. In mussels, it inhibits the activity of key enzymes involved in Na(+) uptake and consequently induces ionic and osmotic disturbances. In snails, Cu induces disruption of the Ca(2+) homeostasis leading to effects in shell deposition and snail growth. However, the mechanisms involved in Cu toxicity in osmoconforming sweater mollusks remain unclear. Recent findings from our laboratory have suggested that Cu toxicity in marine invertebrates can be associated with both ionic and respiratory disturbances. In the present study, metabolic changes induced by waterborne Cu exposure were evaluated in the osmoconforming clam Mesodesma mactroides, a bivalve species widely distributed along the South American sandy beaches. Juvenile clams were kept under control conditions (no Cu addition in the water) or acutely (96h) exposed to Cu (96-h LC10=150μgL(-1)) in artificial seawater (30ppt). ATP, protein, lipid, glycogen and glucose contents were analyzed in gills, digestive gland, pedal muscle and hemolymph. Dinucleotide (NAD(+) and NADH) content was also analyzed in gills, digestive gland and pedal muscle while pyruvate and lactate content was determined in pedal muscle and hemolymph. In all tissues analyzed, Cu exposure did not affect ATP content and NAD(+)/NADH ratio, except in the hemolymph, where a decrease in ATP content was observed. These findings indicate that clam cells, except those from hemolymph, were able to maintain a constant level of free energy. A significant increase in total protein content was observed in the digestive gland, which could be a compensatory mechanism to counteract the higher level of protein oxidation previously observed in M. mactroides exposed to Cu under the same experimental conditions. Finally, reduced glucose content in the pedal muscle paralleled by increased lactate content in the pedal muscle and hemolymph was observed in Cu-exposed clams. Overall, these findings indicate that Cu exposure is leading to an increased reliance upon the anaerobic energy production to maintain the overall cellular ATP production in the clam M. mactroides.
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