Long-Term Pyrene Exposure of Grass Shrimp, Palaemonetes Pugio, Affects Molting and Reproduction of Exposed Males and Offspring of Exposed Females

By Oberdorster, Eva; Brouwer, Marius et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2000 | Go to article overview

Long-Term Pyrene Exposure of Grass Shrimp, Palaemonetes Pugio, Affects Molting and Reproduction of Exposed Males and Offspring of Exposed Females


Oberdorster, Eva, Brouwer, Marius, Hoexum-Brouwer, Thea, Manning, Steve, McLachlan, John A., Environmental Health Perspectives


The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of long-term pyrene exposure on molting and reproduction in the model estuarine invertebrate, the grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio). Grass shrimp were exposed to measured concentrations of 5.1, 15.0, and 63.4 ppb ([micro]g/L) pyrene for 6 weeks, during which time we determined molting and survivorship. At the end of the exposure, we immediately sacrificed some of the shrimp for biomarker (CYP1A and vitellin) analyses. The remaining shrimp were used to analyze fecundity and embryo survivorship during an additional 6 weeks after termination of pyrene exposure. Male shrimp at the highest pyrene dose (63 ppb) experienced a significant delay in molting and in time until reproduction, and showed elevated ethoxycoumarin o-deethylase (ECOD) activity immediately after the 6-week exposure period. In contrast, 63 ppb pyrene did not affect these parameters in female shrimp. Females produced the same number of eggs per body weight, with high egg viability (98-100%) at all exposure levels, but with decreased survival for the offspring of the 63-ppb pyrene-exposed females. In addition, vitellin levels were elevated only in females at 63 ppb pyrene after the 6-week exposure. We hypothesize that the elevated vitellin binds pyrene and keeps it biologically unavailable to adult females, resulting in maternal transfer of pyrene to the embryos. This would account for the lack of effect of pyrene exposure on ECOD activity, molting, and reproduction in the adult females, and for reduced survival of their offspring. Key words: cytochrome P450, molting, pyrene, reproduction, shrimp, vitellin. Environ Health Perspect 108:641-646 (2000). [Online 2 June 2000]

http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2000 /108p641-646oberdorster/abstract.html

Grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, are a key link in the estuarine detritus food chain. Grass shrimp life history is well studied (1), and shrimp can be easily maintained in the laboratory, making them ideal and important model estuarine invertebrates. Molting and reproduction in grass shrimp are controlled by the molting hormone, ecdysone (2,3). A spike in ecdysone stimulates molting (4), and as with all steroids, ecdysone regulates gene and protein expression by interacting with its receptor, the ecdysone receptor (5). This includes the expression of ovarian egg yolk protein, vitellin (Vt). (6-8). Female grass shrimp molt, and must be mated within 7 hr of molting (1). Eggs are fertilized and extruded, then held on the pleopods of the female's abdomen until larvae are released 12-15 days later. The female molts again within a few days after spawning, and produces an additional brood. The breeding season varies with climate, but can be several months long in the estuaries of the southeastern United States. Larvae develop through a series of metamorphic molt stages and reach maturity within a few months to 1 year, depending on climate.

Estuaries often receive large amounts of anthropogenic contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In some areas, sediment concentrations [is greater than] 4 mg/g have been found, although most highly contaminated areas are in the range of 1-2 [micro]g/g (9-11). Water concentrations have been recorded in the nanogram-per-liter to microgram-per-liter range (10,12). In a controlled sediment-exposure study, pyrene water concentrations reached up to 18 [micro]g/L in the filtered water from sediments containing 2.25 [micro]g/g pyrene (12). In a separate study, grass shrimp were exposed to PAH-contaminated sediments including up to 2.1 [micro]g/g pyrene, and water levels of pyrene reached up to 165 [micro]g/L (10). However, in this study, water was not filtered and pyrene was most likely associated with suspended solids. Considering that pyrene levels can reach milligram-per-gram sediment levels in contaminated estuaries, it is reasonable to assume that pyrene concentrations in the field are in the microgram-per-liter range in the water column. …

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