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Title: Immunotoxic biomarkers of anthropogenic impact in marine invertebrates.
Author: Smith, Karen Lesley.
ISNI:       0000 0000 4314 5745
Awarding Body: University of Plymouth
Current Institution: University of Plymouth
Date of Award: 2002
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Many chemicals enter the marine environment as a result of human activities where they are available to exert a range of effects upon biota. Research has previously focused on the effects of chemicals upon various biological functions of biota in situ. However the impact of chemicals with immunotoxic functions has received little attention. The current research focused on the immunotoxicity of environmental pollutants on marine invertebrates, primarily Mytilus edulis. The aim of the research was to determine to what extent immune function altered in M edulis following exposure to environmental contaminants and how these alterations could be measured and incorporated into environmental monitoring programmes. Exposure of M edulis to the immunotoxicants copper and tributyltin in the laboratory indicated that biochemical measures of immune function were too sensitive for experimental manipulations to be used as biomarkers of pollution-induced stress. However, cellular analysis of immune function, as measured by an adapted immunotoxicity assay in combination with a measure of cell viability, was responsive to pollution-induced stress in a concentration-dependant manner. Cellular immune activity appeared to be regulated by the cytokine IL-1 and involved the release of lytic factors from haemocyte populations. Field evaluation of the immunotoxicity assay in New Bedford Harbour, USA, indicated that environmental contaminants within the estuary had an immuntoxic effect upon in situ mussel populations. The measure of immunotoxicity in mussel populations in New Bedford Harbour was a more sensitive measure of environmental impact than routinely used biomarkers such as lysosomal neutral red, cardiac monitoring and condition index. The immunotoxicity assay is therefore proposed as a sensitive, low cost and reliable biomarker of effect in mussel populations both in the laboratory and the field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available