The effects of cadmium exposure on the cytology and function of primary cultures from rainbow trout
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Cultured epidermal cells from explants of skin of rainbow trout were used to study the cytological and functional changes following sublethal exposure to cadmium stress. The aim was to develop diagnostic markers for ecotoxicology. Cultures were exposed to the pollutant for 48 h. Cell structural and cytological changes were established by light and electron microscopy. Metabolic alterations were detected by immunohistochemistry. The relation between the initiation of cellular alterations and cadmium concentrations was compared in cultures exposed in commercially-available serum-free and serum-containing medium. The expression of stress proteins (metallothionein and heat shock protein) was also studied. Rainbow trout epithelial cells exposed to cadmium showed typical morphological changes indicative of cell death by apoptosis. Sublethal exposure also resulted in cellular metabolic disturbances with increased deposits of glycogen. Increased melanization was also observed. These changes appeared at lower concentrations of cadmium when cells were exposed in serum-free media than in serum-containing media. Cadmium induced the expression of heat shock proteins but not of metallothioneins. The results broadly confirm in vivo findings for cadmium toxicity and suggest that this in vitro technique may have applications in aquatic toxicology.
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