It is now well documented that several contaminants can modulate the fish immune system, leading to disrupted host resistance against pathogens and increased incidence of disease. Since fish are usually co-exposed to chemicals and pathogens in the natural environment, analysis of the immunotoxic effects of pollutants is particularly relevant. The authorities in the European Union have recommended the development of toxicity assays on cell cultures and embryos, as an alternative to testing in vertebrates. This is why in the present study; a fish immune challenge assay was developed for the early life stages of Japanese medaka to evaluate and compare the relevance of new biomarkers. Fish were exposed to benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a model pollutant, for 8?days at the embryonic stage, or for 48?h at the larvae and juvenile stages, and fish were infected with betanodavirus by bath-challenge of 106?TCID50/mL. Biometric changes and induction of malformations were observed after embryonic exposure. DNA damage and induction of EROD activity were recorded at the end of all chemical exposures. Viral infection increased the mortality rate significantly and disturbed the behaviour of fish after light stimulation. While BaP exposure increased swimming speed, betanodavirus infection slowed swimming activity. In larvae co-exposed to BaP and the virus, the viral titre in the whole body was higher than in fish infected only with the virus. This study highlighted the sensitivity and usefulness of the immune challenge assay on the early life stages of Japanese medaka to evaluate the toxic effects of pollutants.
Authors: Pannetier P, Morin B, Clérandeau C, Lacroix C, Cabon J, Cachot J, Danion M. ; Full Source: Sci Total Environ. 2018 Oct 24; 652:964-976. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.256. [Epub ahead of print]