• flow cytometric functional tests;
  • lipids (fatty acids, oxysterols, phospholipids, phytosterols);
  • MIN6 pancreatic cells;
  • toxic metal ions

Mussels may concentrate pollutants, with possibly significant side effects on human health. Therefore, mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from two sites of the Moroccan Atlantic coast (Jorf Lasfar [JL], an industrial site, and Oualidia [OL], a vegetable-growing area), were subjected to biochemical analyses to quantify the presence of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, and Pb) and to establish the lipid profile: fatty acid, cholesterol, oxysterol, phytosterol and phospholipid content. In addition, mussel lipid extracts known to accumulate numerous toxic components were tested on murine pancreatic β-cells (MIN6), and their biological activities were measured with various flow cytometric and biochemical methods to determine their impacts on cell death induction, organelle dysfunctions (mitochondria, lysosomes, and peroxisomes), oxidative stress and insulin secretion. The characteristics of JL and OL lipid extracts were compared with those of commercially available mussels from Spain (SP) used for human consumption. OL and JL contained heavy metals, high amounts of phospholipids, and high levels of oxysterols; the [(unsaturated fatty acids)/(saturated fatty acids)] ratio, which can be considered a sign of environmental stress leading to lipid peroxidation, was low. On MIN6 cells, JL and OL lipid extracts were able to trigger cell death. This event was associated with overproduction of H2O2, increased catalase activity, a decreased GSH level, lipid peroxidation and stimulation of insulin secretion. These effects were not observed with SP lipid extracts. These data suggest that some components from OL and JL lipid extracts might predispose to pancreatic dysfunctions. Epidemiological studies would be needed to assess the global risk on human health and the metabolic disease incidence in a context of regular seafood consumption from the OL and JL areas. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 1245–1261, 2014.