Aquatic environment

Immunotoxic effects of an industrial waste incineration site on groundwater in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Nadjet Benchalgo , François Gagné , Michel Fournier


Received July 31, 2013,Revised October 29, 2013, Accepted , Available online April 01, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 981-990

The discharge of organic waste from the petrochemical industry into the Mercier lagoons caused major groundwater contamination. The objective of this study was to determine the immunotoxic potential of three groundwater wells at increasing distance from the incinerator dumping site (1.17, 2.74 and 5.40 km). Rainbow Trout were exposed to increasing concentrations of water from three groundwater wells for 14 days. Immunocompetence was characterized by phagocytosis, mitogen-stimulated proliferation of lymphocytes, cell cycle analysis and apoptosis. A significant increase in innate (phagocytosis) and specific immune response (B lymphocyte proliferation) was observed in trout exposed to water collected from the well at 2.74 km. However, phagocytosis activity was suppressed in groups at 1.17 and 5.40 km. The proportion of lymphocytes in S phase was significantly increased in groups at 2.74 and 5.40 km, while lymphocytes in G0/G1 phase were decreased in all three exposure groups. Additionally, dexamethasone (DEX)-induced apoptosis of lymphocytes was significantly reduced in the group at 2.74 km, which suggests decreased lymphocyte turnover. Furthermore, the ratio of DEX-induced apoptosis/apoptosis was lower in the groups at 2.74 and 5.40 km. In summary, our experiments have shown that exposure to the mixture of organic compounds present in Mercier groundwater modulates phagocytosis and cell proliferation, disrupts the cell cycle and reduces the ratio of DEX-induced apoptosis/apoptosis. It is concluded that groundwater collected in the vicinity of an incinerator containment field could impact immunocompetence in fish.

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