Effects of cadmium on nuclear integrity and DNA repair efficiency in the gill cells of Mytilus edulis L

Pruski, Audrey M.; Dixon, David R.. 2003 Effects of cadmium on nuclear integrity and DNA repair efficiency in the gill cells of Mytilus edulis L. Aquatic Toxicology, 57 (3). 127-137.

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Although the effects of heavy metals on marine invertebrate species are well studied in term of their toxicity and bioaccumulation, less is known about their genotoxicity. The aim of this investigation was to assess the DNA damaging potential of cadmium (Cd) in an important pollution sentinel organism, the mussel Mytilus edulis. Cadmium is one of the most toxic and widespread heavy metals found in the marine environment, and is a recognised carcinogen in mammals. Based on the results of the comet assay (alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis), Cd was found not to be genotoxic in mussel gill cells under acute and chronic exposure conditions, whereas pre-exposure to low concentrations of Cd was found to enhance the genotoxicity of another mutagen, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The effects of H2O2 were normally reversible when cells were transferred to clean saline buffer. However, in cells that had been pre-treated with Cd, in vivo or in vitro, we observed a decrease in this post-treatment DNA repair. The effects of Cd were reversed by zinc which suggests that the inhibitory effect of Cd on DNA repair was due to the displacement of zinc ions from active sites on proteins involved in the repair process (a property already described for mammals). Moreover, since Cd inhibits or delays the onset of apoptosis (programmed cell death), this removes one of the main defence mechanisms responsible for protecting the organism against neoplasia. There appears to be a close similarity between the effects of Cd on marine molluscs and mammals.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0166-445X
Additional Keywords: Mussel; Cadmium; Genotoxicity; Hydrogen peroxide; Apoptosis; Comet assay
Date made live: 27 Aug 2008 +0 (UTC)

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