In vivo exposure of Mytilus edulis to living enteric bacteria: a threat for immune competency?

Abstract : Mussels are widespread in coastal environments and experience various physical, chemical, and bacteriological conditions. Owing to the increase of coastal urbanization, mussels are now commonly exposed not only to indigenous bacteria, but also to enteric bacteria originating from pulsed and chronic sewage discharges into coastal environments. Due to its broad resilience to environmental variations, the blue mussel Mytilus edulis is commonly used as an indicator of environmental quality in bio-monitoring programs. However, since mussel immune system capabilities may be affected by the presence of exogenous fecal bacteria in coastal seawater subjected to sewage discharges, we aimed to determine the effect of in vivo bacterial challenges on mussels' immune competency by using two exogenous enteric bacterial strains, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis, and an indigenous bacterial strain Vibrio splendidus (as control). Bacterial strains were tested individually, by injection into the posterior adductor muscle at three different cell densities (10(2), 10(3), and 10(4) cells). Unlike classic in vitro experiments using higher bacterial concentrations, neither the enteric bacteria nor the indigenous strain induced significant increase or decrease of either cell-mediated (phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species, and NO(x) production) or humoral components (prophenoloxidase-like, acid phosphatase, and L-leucine-aminopeptidase production) of the immune system. This study demonstrates that, at low concentrations, E. coli and E. faecalis do not represent an additional threat that could impair M. edulis immune competency and, as a consequence, its potential of survival in coastal areas subjected to sewage discharges.
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Sophie Gauthier-Clerc, Isabelle Boily, Michel Fournier, Karine Lemarchand. In vivo exposure of Mytilus edulis to living enteric bacteria: a threat for immune competency?. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2013, 20 (2), pp.612-20. ⟨10.1007/s11356-012-1200-x⟩. ⟨pasteur-01002277⟩

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