Assessment of the mechanisms of detoxification of chemical compounds and antioxidant enzymes in the digestive gland of mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis, from Mediterranean coastal sites.
ABSTRACT In this study the effects of the main marine pollutants (metals, PAHs, PCBs and DDTs) were assessed in native mussels from the Mediterranean coast of Spain. For this purpose several biomarkers such as benzo[a]pyrene hydroxylase (BPH), DT-diaphorase (DTD), glutathione S-transferase (GST), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidases (GPs), glutathione reductase (GR), metallothionein (MT) and lipid peroxidation (LPO) were measured in the digestive gland. Results showed increased LPO levels in mussels which accumulated high loads of organic compounds and arsenic in their tissues. BPH levels correlated to the concentrations of organic compounds in mussel tissues, though the range of BPH response was low in relation to the high gradient of accumulation of organic pollutants. Increased BPH levels, concomitant to low DTD and GST activities, were detected in mussels which presented high levels of organic pollutants in their tissues. This suggests that signs of LPO present in these organisms are related to the imbalance between phase I and phase II biotransformation processes. Furthermore, the increased levels of MT and CAT detected in mussels which showed high levels of Cd in their tissues appear to reflect a coordinated response which protects against the toxicity of this metal. The application of these biomarkers in environmental assessment is discussed.