Sex and low-level sampling stress modify the impacts ...



Title Sex and low-level sampling stress modify the impacts of sewage effluent on the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) immune system
Author(s) B. Hoeger, B. Hitzfeld, B. Kollner, D. R. Dietrich, Michael R. van den Heuvel
Journal Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Date 2005
Volume 73
Issue 1
Start page 79
End page 90
Abstract The objective of the present study was to investigate the influence of chronic exposure to municipal sewage treatment effluent at environmentally relevant concentrations on immune parameters in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), including the assessment of potential differences in reactivity between sexually mature male and female fish. Trout were exposed to 1.5 and 15% (v/v) secondary treated municipal sewage effluent for 32 weeks. Fish were injected intra-peritoneally either with inactivated Aeromonas salmonicida to simulate an infection or with PBS as control for this immune challenge 6 weeks prior to sampling. Exposure to effluent resulted in a decrease in A. salmonicida-specific serum antibody level and blood lymphocyte numbers in mature females, but not in male fish. Injection of A. salmonicida resulted in enhanced serum lysozyme activity in mature male trout, which were not exposed to effluent. This stimulating effect of A. salmonicida could not be found in effluent-exposed trout, again potentially revealing a suppressive effect of the effluent. An influence of sampling fish on two consecutive days was observed in many immune parameters, most likely reflecting handling stress. Leucocyte and lymphocyte numbers in peripheral blood were consistently lower in male and female fish on the second sampling day. Phagocytosis in head kidney macrophages from male trout was also influenced by sampling day, whereby a stimulation of this reaction occurred on the second day of sampling. Liver mixed function oxygenase activity was found to be enhanced in mature male trout exposed to 15% effluent. In conclusion, the study showed, that exposure to sewage treatment plant effluent, in surface water relevant concentrations, can lead to potentially adverse effects on selected immune reactions in rainbow trout. However, this study also demonstrated that both handling stress and the sex of mature fish have distinct influences on the immune response detected in male and female fish and are likely to influence measured immune parameters to the extent that subtle effluent induced changes may be difficult to detect.
DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2005.03.004

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