Immunotoxicity of butyltins in tunicates



This study was designed to investigate the effects of butyltins on yeast phagocytosis in vitro by haemocytes of the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri. This species has been reported to be very sensitive to organotins. Results show that, in analogy to reports on mammalian leukocyte re-activity, butyltins exert inhibitory effects on phagocytosis in a concentration-dependent manner, mainly by influencing cellular calcium homeostasis by interacting with the calcium pump. As the immunosuppressant activity of organotins described in mammals and teleosteans also occurs in an invertebrate marine species, the latter may assume a role as a sensitive biosensor of butyltins as immunotoxins in aqueous ecosystems.