Effect of in vitro and in vivo organotin exposures on the immune functions of murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii)

Authors

  • Andrew J. Harford,

    1. Key Centre for Toxicology, School of Medical Sciences, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Plenty Road, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
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  • Kathryn O'Halloran,

    1. Landcare Research, P.O. Box 40, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand
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  • Paul F. A. Wright

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Centre for Toxicology, School of Medical Sciences, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Plenty Road, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
    • Key Centre for Toxicology, School of Medical Sciences, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Plenty Road, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
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Abstract

Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) is an iconic native Australian freshwater fish and an ideal species for ecotoxicological testing of environmental pollutants. The species is indigenous to the Murray-Darling basin, which is the largest river system in Australia but also the ultimate sink for many environmental pollutants. The organotins tributyltin (TBT) and dibutyltin (DBT) are common pollutants of both freshwater and marine environments and are also known for their immunotoxicity in both mammals and aquatic organisms. In this study, TBT and DBT were used as exemplar immunotoxins to assess the efficiency of immune function assays (i.e., mitogen-stimulated lymphoproliferation, phagocytosis in head kidney tissue, and serum lysozyme activity) and to compare the sensitivity of Murray cod to other fish species. The organotins were lethal to Murray cod at concentrations previously reported as sublethal in rainbow trout (i.e., intraperitoneal [i.p.] lethal dose to 75% of the Murray cod [LD75] = 2.5 mg/kg DBT and i.p. lethal dose to 100% of the Murray cod [LD100] = 12.5 mg/kg TBT and DBT). In vivo TBT exposure at 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg stimulated the phagocytic function of Murray cod (F = 6.89, df = 18, p = 0.004), while the highest concentration of 2.5 mg/kg TBT decreased lymphocyte numbers (F = 7.92, df = 18, p = 0.02) and mitogenesis (F = 3.66, df = 18, p = 0.035). Dibutyltin was the more potent immunosuppressant in Murray cod, causing significant reductions in phagocytic activity (F = 5.34, df = 16, p = 0.013) and lymphocyte numbers (F = 10.63, df = 16, p = 0.001).

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